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Making research relevant to policymaking: from brokering boundaries to drawing on practices

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While urban policy makers and social scientists both aim to successfully address societies’ most pressing problems, their interactions are frequently strained or even counter-productive. A case study describing a collaborative research project on Cost Benefit Analysis shows that shifting from a representational perspective on knowledge transfer towards a performative understanding of problem structuring highlights how differences between research and policymaking can be made conducive to learning instead of frustrating it. To this end knowledge development is analysed in terms of Translations in institutionally embedded knowledge practices. This approach supplements the two-community approach by opening up collaborative practices where problem structuring and group formation coevolve. Depending on circumstance and design, such practices can both reproduce or transform real-world urban problems. Furthering academic understanding of these practices can strengthen the capacity of cities and universities to successfully address unstructured problems.
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Keywords: Knowledge translation; governance of problems; knowledge transfer; practice turn; turn to problematization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Publication date: January 2, 2020

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