prof.dr. R. Torenvlied (René)

Full Professor

About Me

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. 

René is currently a member of the Academic Board of “Tech-your-future”, 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.



Ancillary Activities

  • Gemeente Enschede
    Voorzitter Wetenschappelijke Board Gemeente Enschede


René Torenvlied's research activities contribute to our deeper understanding of how public governance and management contribute to the public interest – in a volatile and complex world, riddled with uncertainties and ambiguities that come with disruptive and emergent technologies.

  • 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 inter-organizational networks and managerial networking behavior.

  • It concerns the question of how network relations (both quantitatively and qualitatively) moderate disruptions and promote innovation and learning among stakeholders?
  • This research line is reflected by studies into collaborative networks in industrial relations, education, health care promotion, and public safety.
  • It is also reflected by studies into transboundary crisis management, such as the downing of flight MH17 or the covid crisis response.


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 development of innovations among multiple stakeholders affects the success or failure of the implementation of innovations.
  • 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 managerial practices and public policymaking.
  • It addresses the question how the (dialectic) relations unfold between Public Administration as a discipline, governance practices, and stages in (linear and disruptive) technological transformation.
  • This research line is reflected in empirical studies on evidence-based policy, as well as by historical studies on the co-evolution between governance practices and technological disruptions.



UT Research Information System


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 – able to improve well-being by connecting the world of engineering with the worlds of public governance and management. For his own inspiration, René 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. 


Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Cubicus (building no. 41), room C312
De Zul 10
7522NJ  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Cubicus  C312
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

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