Demand-driven science: the role of knowledge partnerships in improving the public value of conservation science

Project: Research project

Project Details


Demand-driven science: the role of knowledge partnerships in improving the public value of conservation science Demand-driven science: the role of knowledge partnerships in improving the public value of conservation science Overview In recent years, conservation scientists have come to acknowledge the importance of partnering with stakeholders outside of academe to innovate and realize measurable conservation outcomes. We focus on the extent to which the research process and knowledge-producing organizational partnerships can be designed to incorporate the needs of knowledge users in order to achieve public value outcomes. Knowledge partnerships represent a form of knowledge production that can advance public value outcomes (i.e., benefits to society). While public value is an important concept in science and innovation policy research and management, there is little research on how partnerships between institutions can deliver public value, especially in conservation science. Our proposed research program will identify the determinants of public value outcomes in biodiversity knowledge partnerships, and the pathways to achieving these outcomes. Our proposed research builds on our previous research on determinants of the supply of actionable science (i.e., knowledge which aims to achieve public value outcomes). We propose to build on this work by exploring ways to link the production of this knowledge with its use. Intellectual Merit We propose to examine the design and organizational context of scientific research projects in order to enhance their ability to achieve public value outcomes. We focus on the discipline of conservation science to examine linkages between knowledge production and knowledge use, focusing on how knowledge users inform knowledge production. This work builds on nascent models of connecting knowledge to action, such as actionable science, science communication, and boundary organizations, which tend to focus on a push model of disseminating scientific knowledge and assume the importance of science to potential users. In examining the communication and translation processes that link knowledge users to knowledge producers, we will focus specifically on those who often have not been included in these processes. With public value creation as the guiding principle, we will uncover lessons for the design of research projects, partnerships, and knowledge-producing organizations. We will produce a framework for understanding how the processes of scientific research can be transformed to be more inclusive of stakeholders and improve the connection between the production and use of science, and thus increase the public value of scientific activity. Broader impacts Our proposed research will provide a model and tools for achieving and enhancing public value outcomes in conservation science related fields. The identification of indicators of public value success is directly translatable and adaptable to governmental, private, and non-profit organizations. Our proposed research will provide guidelines on how to design knowledge partnerships for public value, and offer new models of institutional partnerships to address complex and intertwined social and ecological aspects of biodiversity conservation, and enabling solutions that are relevant, culturally sensitive, economically viable, and capable of being implemented quickly to effectively mitigate biodiversity loss. Broader impacts on the production of science with public value will be realized through the utilization of a knowledge partnership scorecard, in which best practices for accomplishing public value outcomes are generalized and made accessible to those involved in the production and use of science via trainings and publicly available tools. The scorecard tool provides an easy way for stakeholders in all sectors and across organizations to assess and improve their role in producing public value. The tool will improve the ability of individual projects to build effective organizational contexts which link knowledge production and use for public value, and will produce qualitative and quantitative data which can be used for cross-initiative assessment and for further analysis.
Effective start/end date8/15/217/31/24


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $616,784.00


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