Government Support and Infrastructure: Realizing the value of collaborative work

Peter Levesque


CCommunity-campus research has undergone significant growth over the last two decades. While there has been some support in the form of government programs, significant gaps remain. The identification of collaborative research – what Gibbons et al. (1994) called Mode Two, complementing more traditional Mode One research – necessitates a better understanding of the incentives and infrastructure needed to produce greater value from both modes of research production. This article presents an argument that research is fundamentally three questions: what, so what and now what. It further argues that while the system is good at producing data and information as well as interpretation and analysis, it is not quite so competent when it comes to decisions that produce value beyond products, programs and sometimes, policies. This article introduces concepts related to knowledge mobilization and the need for dedicated incentives and infrastructure to realize the value of collaborative work. It introduces a taxonomy of legal government powers to protect and promote public health that may be adapted to the creation of support for community-campus research. This article suggests that government support for collaborative research must be built from arguments that demonstrate the added value that comes from engaging in these processes. It further argues that this is essentially a political process that must include explicit and open conversations across sectors and stakeholders.

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