BLOG     18 | 01 | 2019

What are multi-stakeholder research initiatives and why do we need them?

Collective governance and transformational governance are instrumental to produce responsible research innovations.

An important way in which collective and transformational governance is manifested is through so-called multi-stakeholder initiatives. Multi-stakeholder initiatives bring together government, civil society, and the private sector to become mutually responsive to each other to address complex development challenges that impact people and society as a whole. In doing so, multi-stakeholder initiatives come to complement the role of each stakeholder: acting like an organization but thinking like a movement.

So far, most multi-stakeholder initiatives have faced challenges in achieving the desired transformational and enduring impact. Much more is required. To secure future successes, multi-stakeholder initiatives will have to be further sustained by fostering a collective-impact approach where each party also has its return of investment aligned with a shared mission. Given their complexity, it is clear that none of the needed actions will be achieved without investing in the identification and development of new models of collaborative and sustainable research governance.

The EU-funded MULTI-ACT project (see: aims to increase the impact of health research on people with brain diseases. It will create and implement a new model to engage stakeholders in defining metrics for a given mission and agenda. MULTI-ACT integrates metrics related to excellence with new measures relating to economic and financial efficiency and to social efficacy. MULTI-ACT foresees patients as a key stakeholder in the Responsible Research Innovation process. MULTI-ACT will focus on the brain diseases research agenda and will use Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as its first case study.

The project started on 1 May 2018 and will continue for three years. It has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under the Grant Agreement No. 787570

By: Dr. Paola Zaratin, MULTI-ACT Project Coordinator & Director of Scientific Research, Italian MS Society – Italian MS Foundation