Shining a Knowledge Mobilization Lens on Future Trends in Research

On August 5, 2010 Martin Butler presented a webinar titled “Future Trends in Research” for the Canadian Association of University Research Administrators (CAURA). Martin Butler is a principal in The Butlers & Associates which “is a partnership providing independent research and development services to individual researchers, universities and other educational institutions, agencies and industry. Since 1996, partners Jennifer and Martin Butler have collectively impacted over 2,000 researchers from Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the United States.”
Martin’s 90 minute talk was wide ranging and while it lacked data to back up his conclusions, it was no doubt informed by his many years experience working between researchers, institutions and funding agencies. His talk reflected on issues of accountability, impact, collaboration, the increasing professionalism of research administration and the institutional evolution away from supporting researchers to supporting research ecosystems. I have annotated his slides found here to illustrate where his predictions on the future of research intersect with ResearchImpact’s interest in building capacity for institutional knowledge mobilization support services.
He makes a number of points that are relevant to KMb. Summing up the many annotated points on his slides Martin predicts that in the future, researchers and research institutions will need to:
• Maximize public benefits and return on investments of research
• Support new models of social entrepreneurship and new institutional structures such as KMb Units
• Demonstrate Impact. Demonstrate Impact. Demonstrate Impact (as well as learn how to measure and reward it)
If Martin is correct, then KMb and KMb support services will be required to meet increasing expectations from funders and the public to demonstrate how their investments in research are making a difference.
We will increasingly be required to add the public view to peer review.
CAURA colleagues take note. The 1990s saw a wave of commercialization. After 2000 we saw enhanced emphasis on accountability, ethics and compliance. Perhaps moving forward we will see efforts like those of the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche universities spread throughout Canada’s research ecosystems.
CAURA was founded in 1971. The Canadian Association of University Research Administrators is a national association of individuals committed to advancing the profession; to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of research administration at post-secondary institutions, hospitals, and other research institutes; to maintaining a strong presence and coherent voice on key issues relevant to research and to fostering co-operation and links with other organizations active in the management and administration of research. CAURA webinars are part of an ongoing professional development series for the CAURA membership.