Knowledge Exchange and Legislatures

UK Parliament (February 2020) Knowledge Exchange and Legislatures.



Knowledge exchange (KE) refers to any activity or process in which information is exchanged between at least two parties. This briefing gives an overview of KE between universities and the four UK legislatures, to inform the development of KE strategies and activities for universities and academic researchers across the UK. It is also intended to inform ongoing developments in Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Framework, the first iteration of which will take place in 2020.


Not a peer reviewed article but a briefing from UK Parliament on knowledge exchange (KE) activities underway. I like this for presenting guidance to academic institutions on how to enhance KE with governments.

First: It is a great model for any brief. I particularly like the overview box for key messages and the use of text boxes to highlight specific information.

Second: The UK Parliament has a KE unit the routinely sends our requests for research expertise. They tweet as Knowledge Exchange Unit at UK Parliament (@UKParl_Research) and Dr. Sarah Foxen is the KE lead ( I have sent this report to colleagues in Ottawa and am not above publicly shaming Canada by highlighting what an amazing idea it is to have a KE Unit that can make connections between academic institutions and government.

Third: it is a great resource for the many ways researchers and government can interact on KE

  • Provision of Information or Advice: submitting written evidence to a committee; PhD Fellowships; giving oral evidence in Committee; acting as an expert advisor; speaking at event; preparing briefings; contributing insight to cross party groups; providing information to members drafting legislation
  • Agenda Setting: horizon scanning and forward planning; suggesting committee inquiries; capacity building; input into members drafting questions
  • Peer Review


Barriers to effective KE are identified on both sides of the relationship but seem to be dominated by academic barriers. The brief offers several approaches to overcoming barriers, but the onus feels to me like it is placed on the institution not on government including:

  • Raising awareness and sharing information
  • Brokering relationships
  • Providing spaces and opportunities for interaction
  • Incentive, provide supports for, support understanding and skills for KE

See the article for examples under each of these bullets above.

There is a very brief description of evaluation of KE that essentially says, “its difficult and use both qualitative and quantitative indicators”. Thanks Captain Obvious (@CaptainObvious).


Questions for brokers

  1. Why has the UK Parliament created a KE Unit and the Government of Canada hasn’t?
  2. How might Canadian institutions and the Government of Canada collaborate to develop a made in Canada solution to enhancing gov’t/academic engagement?
  3. The brief calls on academic institutions to support various activities to enhance KE. Why is the onus on only one side of the equation?


Research Impact Canada is producing this journal club series as a way to make evidence on KMb more accessible to knowledge brokers and to create on line discussion about research on knowledge mobilization. It is designed for knowledge brokers and other knowledge mobilization stakeholders. Read this open access article. Then come back to this post and join the journal club by posting your comments