This case study discusses the small-scale Different pathways to employment (POLKU) project, funded by the Finnish Prime Minister's office between 2020-2022. The POLKU team studied the challenges and opportunities that arose when the Finnish government was planning to reform the welfare system by integrating social security benefits and services for the unemployed in the context of a programme for analysis, assessment and research activities. The POLKU project adopted a comparative mixed-methods approach to collect and analyse evidence-based information about social security benefits and services in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK. The case study provides insights and advice for research managers involved in implementing low-cost, policy-relevant projects with specified aims and expectations within a limited time frame, and without sacrificing academic objectives and outputs.

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