Relevant to: Research, Policy
Sector: Social sciences
The authors reflect on their experiences as professional knowledge brokers employed within the Scottish university system. Through discussion of their own experiences, the authors explore challenges and opportunities for this emergent category of higher education staff. The paper does not consider the effectiveness of knowledge brokering as compared to other approaches to knowledge exchange but rather considers the implications, for individuals and institutions, of the increasing creation of dedicated knowledge exchange roles that sit somewhere between traditional academic and professional staff. The authors identify and consider a range of specific issues for knowledge exchange professionals that relate to the creation of this new type of role. Issues include:
– Ambiguity around role definition and role responsibility
– Hybridity in that knowledge exchange professionals typically undertake a wide range of activities that incorporate both academic and non-academic functions
The authors go on to discuss opportunities and challenges deriving from role ambiguity and hybridity in the context of:
– Management and accountability
– Recognition and integration
– Professional support and development
– Reward, recognition and career pathways
While this paper is limited in scope, being confined to the author’s own personal experiences, they argue that the insights they offer are likely to be experienced by many knowledge brokers in the academic system. A more systematic and comprehensive study across academic settings would be a valuable extension of this paper. Nevertheless, those interested in a role in knowledge brokering are likely to find useful insights in this paper.
This summary was developed from the following paper:
Knight C. and Lightowler C. (2010) Reflections of ‘knowledge exchange professionals’ in the social sciences: emerging opportunities and challenges for university-based knowledge brokers. Evidence and Policy 6(4): 543–556.