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Creating Intellectual, Institutional and Physical Space for Community-Based Research

Date Published: 2005

Full Reference:

Hall, B., K. Bannister and P. Keller, 2005. “Creating Intellectual, Institutional and Physical Space for Community-Based Research.” Paper presentation at the Community-University Exposition (CUExpo). Winnipeg. September 15-18.


Should Canadian universities create a social sciences and humanities “knowledge broker” equivalent to the “technology transfer office” model that serves natural sciences and engineering? The knowledge broker concept suggests the requirement for university capacity to take into account needs for applied work in the humanities and social sciences and to connect relevant work to potential applications in social decisions and community action. Such an outreach capacity supporting a two-way flow of information between practitioners in the community and researchers in the academy is not a substitute for the inclusive, interactive deliberative processes essential to policy-relevant research and construction of a knowledge base to support legitimate social action, but it is an essential part of the university’s role in the promotion of community-based research. How can the university create this organizational capacity to support community-based research, and allocate the space necessary to accommodate the critical mass of people and information essential to the initiative? And how to address special challenges in identifying funding possibilities and building up necessary information bases? It is harder in the social sciences and humanities to identify cognate activities or counterpart individuals in industry, government or NGOs; to characterize expertise within the university; to track the practical spin-off results from research in the social sciences and humanities; and to identify these precisely enough as to tease out financial support in a world demanding quick and measured outcomes.

Page last updated: 03/10/2008