The Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy

How actor arrangements affect experience in SSH knowledge transfer funding: Contrasting Sweden's FLEXIT with UK KTPs

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

Across an otherwise highly changing public research funding context, certain knowledge transfer (KT) instruments have remained an intriguingly static part of research governance, targeting transfer of knowledge from academic to non-academic settings. Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), dating from 1975, is one such evergreen example. KTPs fund an academic to employ a graduate associate to purse the academic’s project as a supervised placement into a non-academic partner. Does KTPs’ longevity mean this actor arrangement is the best design for such KT-related governance? Given the scope of KT and university-industry links related literatures, this could be addressed multiple ways. However, a workable contrast is possible by contrasting with the design of Sweden’s FLEXIT scheme, which was inspired by KTPs, and launched in 2010. FLEXIT places a social sciences and humanities (SSH) academic directly, with no intermediary associate. It aims for the academic to experience full cross-sectoral mobility into the non-academic setting. This paper explores this actor arrangement variation by contrasting FLEXIT and KTP learning and action affordances, in terms of actor experiences. Primary data comes from 18 SSH KTP interviews and is contrasted with secondary analysis of 18 interviews reporting in papers about FLEXIT academics. Some experiences are common between KTP and FLEXIT participants. The actor arrangement of KTPs generates additional dynamics, due to more heterogenous starting points of associates, and the indirect experience of KTP academics. The paper reflects on what these experiences may mean for designing KT funding, including issues of equity in affordance enactment and effects given KTPs’ more hierarchical, multi-actor arrangement.
Original languageEnglish
Publication yearJun 2022
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
EventBuilding capacity and promoting resilience in research systems - Sweden IVA Conference Centre, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 16 Jun 202217 Jun 2022


ConferenceBuilding capacity and promoting resilience in research systems
LocationSweden IVA Conference Centre
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