An interdisciplinary and development lens on knowledge translation

Huzair, Farah; Borda-Rodriguez, Alexander; Upton, Mary and Mugwagwa, Julius (2013). An interdisciplinary and development lens on knowledge translation. Science and Public Policy, 40(1) pp. 43–50.




Knowledge translation as a dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically-sound application of knowledge, is key to success in projects that require collaboration between individuals, stakeholders or communities. We use two case studies from South Africa: an AIDS vaccine trial site and a policy arena for the attempted harmonisation of biotechnology policies. We demonstrate how the use of an interdisciplinary methodology asks different questions of the knowledge translation (KT) process and foregrounds the importance of the wider socio-economic and political context. The case studies highlight particular problems for the KT process in developing countries and resource-constrained environments which conventional analyses of technology and policy processes may not demonstrate. We conclude that context-specific and dynamic capabilities and capacities are required for effective KT in developing countries. We aim to add methodologically and conceptually to the study of KT and to build capacity for exploring it.

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