DTU Fødevareinstituttets myndighedsbetjening: Fortid eller fremtid?

Dorte Lau Baggesen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


This study describes three future scenarios for the National Food Institute in relation to its role as a supplier of independent and credible science-based consultancy to national and international authorities. The scenarios are based on two analyses. The general political and public management context is analyzed using the Agency theory based on New Public Management and the related economic and organizational frames. The future options for the Institute in relation to the tasks and development of governmental consultancy were analyzed through SWOT analyses. Both analyses where carried out from a realistic perspective with a deductive approach and based on empirical knowledge in the form of primarily organizational documents and secondarily personal, subjective observations and judgment of the organizational context. The first analyses based on the Agency Theory showed that this model with modification was applicable to describe the managerial reality for the National Food Institute. The modifications include an enlargement of the model by inclusion of dual roles and of multi-institutional context. In addition, as an academia the National Food Institute has independent autonomy and authority that enable the Institute to give feedback to its principals – The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, and thereby influence the identification of tasks and delegation of responsibility. This means that the division of power between the involved organizations is changed. The SWOT analyses build on a rational/functional approach and identify the internal strength and weaknesses of the Institute, as well as identify the opportunities and threats in relation to the external environment. The Institute and its staffs have a strong position in the Danish 'food landscape', including high credibility, authority and legitimacy in relation to science-based governmental consultancy. Internationally, and especially within the EU, the Institute has a strong position as guarantor for the scientific foundation for the high level of Danish food safety. The Institute is however challenged by declining public resources as well as increased competition and low success rates when applying for external financed research projects. The future is described in a status quo-, a finishing, and a development scenario, and it is concluded that the National Food Institute must work to strengthen the importance of science-based governmental consultancy and therefore maintain the area as a significant part of the mission. The alternative scenarios (status quo and finishing) will have such a large negative effect on the activity level and will also be further from the known identity of the Institute, that they cannot be considered as a realistic ending based on the needs of the food industry or regulatory service. A premise for the development scenario is the ongoing financial crisis and the following political agenda for reducing the public sector and thus the improvement of growth and development in the private sector. This means that both governmental consultancy and food research in general should be looked into from an economic growth perspective and thereby focused towards areas that can support the growth of food and related sectors but without compromising food safety, animal welfare and human health. Growth in the food industry, sustainability of food production, green technology and improving human health should be points of orientation for the Institute in the years to come. An industry-related growth perspective will challenge the independency of the Institute, but based on the Danish experience and the Danish model, it is concluded in contrast to the conclusion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that it is possible to maintain the credibility and integrity of the researchers also when they work in cooperation with industry. The development scenario should be based on continued internationalization within the EU but also beyond its boundaries. In this way the food safety level and the standard of living in general can be improved. In addition, the spread of Danish experience and views globally will increase the possibility of Danish influence when future international standards and regulations are formulated. The Institute should in the future contribute with the science-based knowledge for the necessary prioritization that has to be made in order to ensure that the limited resources are used in the most effective way, thus the society in general obtain the best results.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages47