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Establishing a Statewide Research Initiative: Lessons from Developing a Knowledge Network

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Caulkins A. Establishing a Statewide Research Initiative: Lessons from Developing a Knowledge Network. Oral presentation at 2017 SciTS Conference. Clearwater Beach, FL. Collaborations Across Academia, Industry, And Government. Online at:

The State of Rhode Island faces complex challenges across multiple areas. These challenges are dynamic and complex, requiring diverse skills, knowledge, and perspectives to determine solutions. Rhode Island, with its small geographic size, and 11 public and private colleges and universities, offers a unique opportunity to develop knowledge networks that leverage academic research to address state specific policy challenges. Developed in 2013, The College & University Research Collaborative (The Collaborative) is a partnership between all 11 institutions of higher education in the state and offers a promising model for coordinating knowledge resources to improve connections between academic research and public policy. To date, The Collaborative has developed 39 research projects, working with 65 researchers from across disciplines and campuses, including 11 multi-campus interdisciplinary teams. Research projects have explored issues related to healthcare, energy, workforce, manufacturing, regional competitiveness, arts and culture, social services, municipal services, criminal justice, and education. Using a unique process, The Collaborative seeks input from state government leaders to determine consensus-based questions related to pressing, state-level policy challenges. The Collaborative then works with faculty within Rhode Island to develop research approaches that best address these questions, including cross-campus, interdisciplinary teams. The Collaborative provides faculty with strategic support throughout research project development, including editorial and data visualization resources that help to clarify complex information for audiences outside of academia. This presentation will share findings from an evaluation using both quantitative and qualitative measures that was completed in the third year of implementation (2016). The evaluation assesses the pilot phase of the program and its’ impact on the research community and policymakers. Lessons learned from this evaluation, and recommendations for the next phase of the project, will provide valuable insights for developing statewide knowledge networks and meaningful collaborations that include stakeholders, researchers, and interdisciplinary teams.



Type of Publication:

Oral presentation


scits 2017 conference, presentation

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Conduct research on/evaluate team science

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Resource created by Jane Hwang on 10/3/2017 5:03:36 PM.

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