René Torenvlied is a professor in the field of Public Administration at University of Twente. He studies how the management of public organizations and inter-organizational collaboration among public organizations and stakeholders promote the public interest in technologically transforming societies. 

René is the chair in Public Management. Governance and management for the public interest in a technologically transforming world lies at the heart of Public Administration at University of Twente. We are dealing with global challenges that come with socio-technological transformation of society. Think about privacy, cyber security, sustainability, health, or safety. These challenges call for the governance and management of complex interdependencies between stakeholders, who face fundamental uncertainties about what is good for the public interest. 


Torenvlied holds an:

  • MA in Political Science from University of Amsterdam (with honors, 1992).
  • PhD in Sociology from University of Groningen (with honors, 1996).


Before joining University of Twente in October 2013 René held positions of:

  • Professor in Public sector management and Scientific Director of the Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University.¬†
  • James S. Coleman professor by special appointement at University of Groningen.
  • Associate and assistant professor in Sociology at Utrecht University.
  • Postdoc in Sociology at University of Amsterdam.


René received several awards and prizes, most notably a personal postdoc grant and VIDI grant from the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) and a prestigious high potential grant of Utrecht University. In 2011, He received the Kooiman Award for the best article in Public Management Review. In 2015 he was the principal investigator of the Dutch national crisis evaluation of the crisis management organization MH17.

René was co-editor of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory between 2012 and 2019 and served as a Board Member of the Public Management Research Association between 2009 and 2013. He is currently member of the editorial board of the American Review of Public Administration, Global Public Policy and Governance, and Research and Politics. He is a fellow of the Center for Organization Research and Design at Arizona State University. 

René is currently the chair of the Scientific Board of the city of Enschede. As a professor in Public Management, he is involved in the promotion of new forms of civic engagement in the city of Enschede. 

Ren√© is currently a member of the Academic Board of ‚ÄúTech-your-future‚ÄĚ, a joint research platform of the Universities of Applied Sciences Saxion and Windesheim and University of Twente. Tech-your-future promotes education in technology and engineering in the broadest sense (from primary education to life-long-learning) in a wide range of relevant domains.


  • Social Sciences

    • Dutch
    • Organizations
    • Research
    • Policy
    • Social Participation
    • Analysis
    • Netherlands
    • Conflict


Ancillary activities

  • Universidad BogotaVisiting professor
  • NWOLid NWO SGW-VIDI Commissie
  • TechyourfutureLidmaatschap academic board
  • Gemeente EnschedeReferendumcommissie

Ren√© Torenvlied's research activities contribute to our deeper understanding of how public governance and management contribute to the public interest ‚Äď in a volatile and complex world, riddled with uncertainties and ambiguities.

  • His fundamental research generates novel insights for policymaking and implementation in complex, turbulent environments.
  • His applied research generated profound improvements in structures for (crisis) management and public decision-making.


Torenvlied’s research is organized along three research lines. 

His first research line concerns the performance of political-administrative systems in modern states. This research line concerns the question how modern states and governments can credibly and effectively contribute to societal well-being in a broad sense.

  • It is reflected by studies into collaborative networks in industrial relations, education, health care promotion, and public safety.
  • It is reflected by studies into legitimate, independent oversight on implementation agencies, ministries and sectors in society.
  • It is also reflected by studies into learning from transboundary crises and crisis management -- such as the downing of flight MH17,¬†the covid crisis response, or the fireworks explosion in Enschede.


Torenvlied’s second research line is the model-guided study of collective decision-making and policy implementation among multiple stakeholders. He develops analytical models to predict the outcomes of complex decision-making processes.

  • The analytical models identify crucial conditions for smooth decision-making and implementation success.
  • This research line is reflected in studies of local, regional, national, and European policymaking / implementation.¬†


His third research line studies the co-evolution of public administration and (technological) transformation.

  • It concerns the question how scientific evidence and technological expertise transfer into political-administrative practices and public policymaking (for example evidence-based policy).
  • It addresses the question how the (dialectic) relation unfolds between Public Administration as a discipline and public administration as a field of study.
  • It emphasizes the diversity of the phenomenon of public administration across the world and in history.



Research profiles

René is the programme director for the educational programmes in the field of Public Administration at University of Twente. This includes the:

These programmes build a new generation of enthusiastic academics and professionals ‚Äď able to improve well-being by connecting the world of engineering with the worlds of public governance and management. For his own inspiration, Ren√© draws on exchange relations with colleagues from all over the world.

As a teacher René aims to inspire students to become self-confident users of multidisciplinary competences, able to tackle real-life challenges from the perspective of Public Administration. His former students are currently active as high-level politicians, consultants, policy advisors, managers, and researchers. 

Courses academic year 2023/2024

Courses in the current academic year are added at the moment they are finalised in the Osiris system. Therefore it is possible that the list is not yet complete for the whole academic year.

Courses academic year 2022/2023

Current projects


A research team from the Public Administration department of University of Twente conducts an independent investigation, commissioned by the Dutch House of Representatives, into the fireworks disaster of 13 May 2000 in Enschede. Radboud University Nijmegen is also involved in the research. The University of Twente's research focuses on the question of how the government can make better use of disasters such as the fireworks disasters in Culemborg and Enschede.


Visiting address

University of Twente

Cubicus (building no. 41), room C312
De Zul 10
7522 NJ Enschede

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