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Knowledge exchange : a comparison of policies, strategies, and funding incentives in English and Scottish higher education

Kitagawa, F. and Lightowler, C. (2013) Knowledge exchange : a comparison of policies, strategies, and funding incentives in English and Scottish higher education. Educational Research and Evaluation, 22 (1). pp. 1-14. ISSN 0958-2029

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Knowledge exchange (KE)/transfer is seen as priority areas for research and innovation policy development across many countries. What is distinctive over the past 30 years is the 'institutionalization' of KE between academic researchers within the higher education sector and knowledge users outside the sector, and more recently 'incentivization' of such activities at national and sub-national policy and at the institutional levels. Critically adopting the framework of Bozeman's 'Contingent Effectiveness Model' of technology transfer, this article develops analytical frameworks in order to examine the policy conditions and dynamics through which knowledge flows and interactions are promoted. Given the recent 'asymmetric' devolution processes of higher education, and the UK national research policy objectives and structures, a combination of different 'policy effectiveness models' are pursued in England and Scotland. We show that the two higher education funding councils, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Scottish Funding Councils (SFC), act as 'policy transfer agent' - along with the set of relevant stakeholders, they have chosen different strategies for policy incentives and funding allocation mechanisms. One of the key challenges for each of the funding councils seems to be the establishment of criteria to distribute these funds across the sector. We discuss limits of supply side incentivization and suggest some alternative approaches by combining different policy effectiveness models and criteria.