Discipline-based knowledge transfer practices: expectations, practices, and effects of knowledge transfer in a cross-disciplinary perspective (DiTraP)

Start of the project: 01-May-2022 - End of the project: 30-Apr-2025

In this research project, we investigate discipline-based practices of knowledge transfer that emerge from the possible tension between discipline-inherent logics of research and increased expectations in terms of relevance and knowledge transfer directed at science. We want to elaborate how these expectations are translated into disciplinary practices. More specifically, we elucidate the expectations, practices, and effects of knowledge transfer in a cross-disciplinary perspective:

  • Which conceptions of knowledge transfer can be identified in the different disciplines? Are there terminological and conceptual differences across disciplines or between science and science policy?
  • What expectations do scientists perceive with regard to knowledge transfer activities and how do they position themselves in response?
  • Which epistemic conditions promote and which prevent knowledge transfer activities, and which challenges and obstacles are associated with these activities in the different disciplines?
  • What prevents academics from participating in knowledge transfer activities and what limits to knowledge transfer exist? Are there conflicts with other central elements of research, e.g. research quality, or a perceived risk to the research process due to a magnified application orientation?
  • In what form do knowledge transfer practices take place and at which stages of the research does the integration of knowledge happen? Which of these practices are deliberately labelled as knowledge transfer in alignment with the overarching goal of transferring knowledge?
  • Which effects do the translation and integration of knowledge transfer produce at the level of knowledge production and discipline-specific research practices (e.g. effects on publication behaviour, career or (foreseeable) long-term effects through ex ante impact assessments)?

Using a mixed-methods design that combines statistically representative methods and qualitative in-depth analyses, the project will examine in a rigorous cross-disciplinary perspective how different disciplines integrate the requirement for knowledge transfer into their research practices and the effect these expectations have on the production of knowledge across disciplines.

The aim of the project is to explain how and why disciplines react differently to knowledge transfer requirements and develop specific knowledge transfer practices. An analytical distinction is made between the conceptual level (perceptions of requirements, expectations of knowledge transfer and the knowledge transfer concepts involved) and the research practice level (integration and translation of knowledge transfer activities at different points in the research process). At both levels a central goal is to identify knowledge transfer obstacles and barriers that arise from the tension between disciplinary logic and knowledge transfer requirements. At the same time, potentials are to be tapped that could originate, for example, from alternative knowledge transfer concepts or practices.

Contact person

Melike Janßen
Melike Janßen +49 30 2064177-60

External Contact

, Robert K. Merton Zentrum (RMZ)

Funded by

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung