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      Enacting knowledge exchange: a context dependent and ‘role-based’ typology for capturing utility from university research

      a , b , c
      Pluto Journals


            One of the key research and policy problems in innovation studies is the development of tools for understanding and measuring the impact of academic research on society. The paper contributes to resolving this problem by providing a typology that helps us to understand and analyse the roles researchers take on in order to make academic knowledge useful. A key finding is that utility creation is context dependent and varies between individual researchers and research groups. Attempts to measure impact ought therefore to allow for diversity with regard to the individual researcher or research group in the context of knowledge creation.


            Author and article information

            Pluto Journals
            1 March 2015
            : 33
            : 1 ( doiID: 10.1080/prometheus.33.issue-1 )
            : 3-20
            [ a ]Energy and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden;
            [ b ]Section for Systems Analysis, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Gothenburg, Sweden;
            [ c ]Research Policy Institute, Lund University School of Economics and Management, Lund, Sweden
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            Computer science,Arts,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Law,History,Economics


            1. In contrast to an advisor, who turns towards specific actors, a debater addresses a broader public audience or large groups of politicians or industrialists. Although the debater can be said to ‘educate’ the public on particular issues, she/he does not interact with specific students in the way an educator does.

            2. This role touches upon the advisor's knowledge of who knows what in a TIS. But, while the advisor knows about only the network nodes (who's who), the networker actively works to integrate, renew and expand the network.

            3. CUT is the second largest technical university in Sweden, employing approximately 2000 researchers and teachers at different levels (including approximately 800 Ph.D. students, but excluding administrative personal).

            4. Since this group dominates most of the activities at the Division of Energy Technology we will, hereafter, refer to this larger part of the Division of Energy Technology simply as the Division of Energy Technology.

            5. The Life Cycle Assessment group refers chiefly to those researches at CUT who were connected to the Competence Centre for Environmental Assessment of Product and Material Systems (CPM) There were additional researchers at CUT conducting LCA research who were not engaged through CPM.

            6. CIT is the technology transfer office of CUT. It also works as a consultancy and project management organisation, coordinating contract research and training.

            7. A tangible example is the reduction in the environmental impact of the production of AkzoNobel's new low temperature washing powder (CPM, 2007).


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