To provide an overview on the approaches, strategies and outcomes of LSE based KT projects I compared the information contained in a selection of project reports and proposals that seem to have been especially successful.
Amongst others, the review focuses on the InCaS FP6 Project| which was concerned with the improvement of companies′ intellectual capital, the Legacy Project, which examined information system development and business processes, the LSE CATS & IOC (UNESCO) Joint Programme| which aims at the development and dissemination of methods and training for the business and policy community at an international level, and the NGPA project on Networks and Global Policy Processes| which examined the impact of non-governmental action on global governance.
In the following, I will first give a brief overview on how I structured the information provided on LSE web pages and the questions that arose while reviewing the material. Afterwards, I will give a review of the LSE KT projects and will then conclude with a summary of the most important issues drawn from the analysis of the projects.
I structured the information on the projects and programmes mentioned above in respect to:
2) Target groups
3) Methodology /Approach
4) Findings and further impact
In some cases, the projects have not been finished yet and thus no statement could be made about the findings. By comparing the issues above, I tried to answer the following questions which seem to be essential for a successful KT bid:
1) Which methodology/approach has been the most successful?
2) Which were the target groups of these projects?
3) In how far were other disciplines/universities/organisations involved?
4) Which impact did these projects have internationally?
5) How was academic knowledge communicated to the public?
Though the analysed projects were conducted by different departments and research groups and research topics ranged from business to NGO work, all projects aimed at providing knowledge and developing a methodology that had impact not only on the national but also on the international stage. Most of the research conducted in the framework of the projects aimed at being policy-relevant and/or influential in international business. Many projects, like for example the NGAP project or the LSE CATS & IOC Joint Programme addressed several networks and organisations at the same time; their findings thus had a broad spectrum of beneficiaries within business, policy communities and international organisations.
Especially transnational policy activities were addressed by successful LSE projects and programmes. The LSE Climate Network| for example aims at raising global engagement and awareness by communicating knowledge on climate issues and establishing a high profile presence within national governments, international governmental organisations and private businesses. The NGAP project aimed as well at influencing transnational policy activities and think tanks.
The business related projects like the InCaS FP6 Project, for example, also operated on a wide scale by targeting the development of a pragmatic methodology for European small and medium enterprises and the provision of a European Intellectual Capital Statement guideline and supporting software. It thus becomes apparent that successful projects neither limited the intended impact of their research to a certain field (be it economic, governmental or non-governmental), nor did they restrict themselves to the national stage. Furthermore, their objectives were multiple - most of the projects aimed at developing strategic as well as scientific and also technological objectives (see for example the Incas FP6 Project).
In regard to methodology, most of the projects had a multidisciplinary base and applied thus a wide range of research methods from the fields of economics, history, political science and sociology. Field research (predominantly participant observation and interviews) was often conducted over a long period of time, like for example within the Legacy Project| (2-3 year period of research).
Almost all of the projects and programmes are interdisciplinary undertakings and a strong point was made of their multiperspective approach which enabled them to examine their research object from different angles by applying a wide variety of methods. The effectiveness of joint projects and programmes, where researchers from different universities were working together or even non-academic institutions were contributing, were especially stressed (see for example the Legacy Project, which cooperated with the EPSRC funded project with the Aerospace industry, Warwick and Cranfield Universities).
In sum, interdisciplinarity and cooperation with non-academic institutions were stressed as advantages of the reviewed KT projects as they enabled the research teams to take on a multi-perspective approach and to work with a great variety of research methods. In regard to the findings and further impact of the research projects, especially results which could improve policy making and communication processes within/between economic, governmental and non-governmental networks were highlighted (see the NGPA project, the LSE Climate Network and the LSE CATS & IOC Joint Programme).
The knowledge gained within these research projects was communicated to the public in multiple ways. Workshops and seminars were amongst the most popular methods to disseminate knowledge (The InCaS's project for instance included seminars in SMEs to implement its developed software).
In addition to that, different media, like for example web pages and broadcasting, were used to transfer knowledge via discussion boards or interviews. Besides adding new knowledge to the public knowledge base, further research was encouraged by publishing results in conference/seminar papers and books. In this way joint projects and cooperation with other universities or/and institutions were advanced.
From this follows that the strong points of these KT projects were their impact on both academic and non-academic fields. By employing various ways of knowledge transfer (the media, workshops/ seminars, academic literature) they reached different spheres of the public and could also disseminate their findings in other academic disciplines and institutions.
Considering the objectives, methodology and findings of foregoing successful projects and programmes, a well-focussed, innovative research question and the objective of impacting various public spheres seem to be the key to a successful KT bid. A stress on a multidisciplinary approach and an application of various research methods that worked extremely well in former projects further increases our chances of success. Hence, a strong point must be made of the various research methods that can be applied and the wide range of expertise that can be drawn on due to the inter-disciplinarity of the CCPN.
Another important point is the wide impact that the project on entrepreneur relationships can have on economic and governmental fields and beyond. It must be stressed in how far the research findings can improve communication within and between these spheres and in how far it can have an impact on the international stage. It must be found out if there are other existing projects and programmes that can profit from the findings and if there exist any prospects of joint projects with other universities and non-academic institutions in the future.
Furthermore, especially important is a wide range of dissemination methods. How will the results of the research be transferred to the public? In how far can the successful methods of the foregoing projects (the media, workshops/ seminars, academic literature) be realised?
In sum, the key aspects for a successful KT bid seem to be inter-disciplinarity, a multiperspective approach, a great sphere of impact (especially business, government and NGOs), international relevance and a wide range of methods to transfer the findings to the public and other academic disciplines. In addition to that, the prospect of providing relevant information for other ongoing projects, or of arranging joint projects and programmes in the future further increases chances for a successful KT bid.
(By Désirée Remmert -Based on data and material on the LSE website: the information on knowledge transfer at LSE has been reviewed and organised in two versions by the CCPN Research Assistants Winter Mead and John Qi Dong).
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