GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Facilitating knowledge mobilization at International Branch Campuses in Qatar
Paper Proposal Text :
Facilitating knowledge mobilization at International Branch Campuses in Qatar: extending the benefits of research and innovation in social sciences and humanities to the society.

The purpose of this study is to explore how research in social sciences and humanities at the International Branch Campuses (‘IBCs’) in Qatar can be extended to benefit the broader society in Qatar. Universities play an important role in building and sustaining knowledge-based societies. Qatar aspires to transition from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. Its leaders have articulated a vision called the Qatar National Vision 2030 (‘QNV 2030’) that outlines the development of the nation around four pillars: human, social, economic and environmental. Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (‘QF’) is the chief steward and sponsor of a knowledge hub known as “Education City” in Doha, Qatar. Education City is comprised of eight International Branch Campuses (‘IBCs’), thematic research institutes, a national research fund management institute, a medical center and a number of social and community based organizations. QF has been entrusted to be a significant driving force behind realizing the QNV 2030 with the goal of preparing Qatar and its people with the skills and knowledge needed to transform Qatar into a knowledge-based economy.

The eight IBCs cover a myriad of disciplines ranging from science, engineering, medicine, business management and social sciences and humanities. Most of the faculty members at these IBCs are research intensive. They receive funding either directly from QF as part of the applied research initiatives at their respective IBCs or grant funding from Qatar National Research Fund (‘QNRF’) for which they compete with other faculty and researchers in Qatar. The faculty and researchers at the IBCs in Qatar have been beneficiaries of 40 research awards in social sciences and humanities funded by QNRF’s flagship National Priorities Research Program (‘NPRP’). The total amount of research funding in social sciences and humanities awarded by QNRF under the NPRP category has exceeded US$25 Million since the funding program started in 2008. In hard sciences, the benefits of research can be passed on to the society at large through technology transfer and commercialization of research. In the field of social sciences and humanities most research ends up as a publication in a scholarly journal or a book. Scholarly publications and books by definition have a limited user audience and hence the impact of the research is limited mostly to the scholarly community.

This paper dwells into the principles of knowledge mobilization and examines the readiness and willingness of the IBCs to extend the research of their faculty and other researchers to the broader society in Qatar. Knowledge mobilization as a concept is about ensuring that citizens benefit from research and that research goes beyond dissemination but actually influences policy and practice in a given social context.

This paper will focus on the following key research questions:

• What is the current state of play of research at IBCs in Qatar and examination of the willingness and readiness of IBCs to facilitate knowledge mobilization?

• What changes are required to facilitate knowledge mobilization at IBCs in Qatar and what are the implications on those impacted by this change?

The key conceptual background of this study will based on suggestions by Jacobson et al (2004) that knowledge mobilization can be facilitated in an academic institution through changes in the following 5 areas:

1. Revising tenure and promotion guidelines.
2. Providing funding and organizational resources for networking, skills training and administrative support.
3. Developing internal structures.
4. Enhancing organizational orientation towards knowledge mobilization and
5. Standardizing knowledge mobilization practices within the institution.

The research study will be empirically based and include discussions with faculty and other researchers from the IBCs in Qatar who have been recipients of a NPRP grant from QNRF and senior academic administrators at the IBCs who have responsibility for research and academic administration.

To begin with, the paper will focus on what faculty and other researchers in social sciences and humanities at the IBCs in Qatar do with their research findings beyond publishing in scholarly journals or books. For instance, are there specific institutional strategies to support knowledge transfer at the IBCs?

Secondly, the paper will focus on understanding how the concept of knowledge mobilization is perceived at the IBCs by the faculty and administrators who support research, academic development and community engagement. A key question here would be to understand the relative importance of knowledge mobilization as compared to other institutional priorities.

Finally, the paper will strive to learn about the potential reaction by those impacted to the changes that would be necessary to facilitate knowledge mobilization at IBCs in Qatar. For instance, what is the impact on faculty workload, priorities, rewards and incentives, support systems etc.? This would also entail understanding of the organizational cultures of the different IBCs and the academic developers’ orientations to academic development practise that would either support or deter facilitation of knowledge mobilization.


Jacobson, N., Butterill, D., & Goering, P. (2004). Organizational factors that influence university-based researchers’ engagement in knowledge transfer activities. Science Communication, 25(3), 246-259.