Scientists like to pay it forward. According to a new study by Université de Montréal professors Christian Dagenais and Michel Janosz, most academics are quite open to knowledge transfer.
“We debunked the myth that researchers are so consumed by their work that they don’t have time for knowledge transfer,” says Dagenais, a professor at the Université de Montréal Department of Psychology and director of the Centre de liaison sur l’intervention et la prévention psychosociales (CLIPP).
Although knowledge transfer is becoming a prerequisite of most funding agencies, universities had little data on what the research community thought about sharing results from their life’s work. Until now.
The study was conducted by the VINCI group (Valorisation de l’innovation et du capital intellectuel) and surveyed scientists from 16 research units affiliated to the Université de Montréal. As part of the study, 216 researchers filled out a questionnaire, while 30 academics and five funding agencies were also interviewed.
One of the conclusions is the need to clarify terminology. For instance, funding agencies see knowledge transfer as broadcasting through conferences, publishing and media outreach. However, for researchers, true knowledge transfer is known as valorization, which means any process that facilitates the application of research results by peers.
The VINCI group report recommends a clarification of the terminology of what constitutes knowledge transfer.
The VINCI group found the most popular types of knowledge transfer are: presentation of research results to potential users (91 percent); discussion of results with users (87 percent); broadcasting of research results to users (70 percent) and accompanying users to integrate knowledge into their practice (56 percent).
“Our data shows that the more applied the science, and the more funding received for the research, the more openness there is to knowledge transfer,” says Dagenais, adding the more a researcher is involved in a study the more open they are to knowledge transfer.