Universities are obliged to contribute to finding solutions for social challenges. Knowledge and technology transfer have become keywords in both – the policy „Europe 2020“ and the Federal Government’s policy for research, technology and innovation. That is because these keywords render the benefits of science for society visible. Social sciences and humanities (SSH) contribute to the goal of finding solutions for social problems in a specific manner because they consider the actuality and relevance of social issues and pass the research results on to society. Therefore, SSH enable social innovations and, at the same time, support the region in which the research takes place. Indirectly, they also help to obtain and promote democracy. In order to bring to mind the benefits of cooperation between science and society and to render them visible, the research project „knowledge transfer in humanities, social- and cultural sciences“ aims at finding out how the transfer of knowledge of those disciplines can be improved.

During the first project year, different types of knowldge transfer that are already being practiced, have been aknowledged. Knowlegde transfer from different university departments or single scientists to civil society, to regional and nationwide associations and business enterprises were of particular interest during this investigation. Therefore, scientific expert interviews have been taken and evaluated. What has been especially observed in regard to those interviews is how synergies are intensified by exchange of information in both ways. To what extent the region and society or economy bring in issues and possible solutions to the field of SSH? Best practice examples have been collected and are used for a guideline promoting different strategies for social innovation.

The project teams of the two universities involved – the Alps-Adria-University in Klagenfurt and the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz have started a bottom-up process in order to develop concrete suggestions for an unbureaucratic and efficient inquiry of knowledge transfer in humanities, social- and cultural sciences. This is happening subsequent to contemporary international discourses in this field of study.

The project team is working with an interdisciplinary workgroup in order to ensure the bottom-up process. The working group is evaluating and directing the following processes:

  • suggestions for a catalogue of key figures that take knowledge transfer in the humanities, social- and cultural sciences into account
  • a quantitative study (following the qualitative study)
  • best-practice samples of knowledge transfer in humanities, social- and cultural sciences

 

Press review (available only in German):

Pictures: © freshidea – Fotolia

Written by: Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, DW
on: 15/04/2015