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Strengthening Knowledge Co-Production Capacity: Examining Interest in Community-University Partnerships
Department of Communication & Journalism, University of Maine, 5724 Dunn Hall, Room 420, Orono, ME 04469, USA
School of Economics, University of Maine, 200 Winslow Hall, Orono, ME 04469, USA
School of Forest Resources, University of Maine, 241 Nutting Hall, Orono, ME 04469, USA
School of Economics, University of Maine, 5784 York Complex, Bldg. 4, Orono, ME 04469, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 May 2013; in revised form: 31 July 2013 / Accepted: 15 August 2013 / Published: 4 September 2013
Abstract: Building successful, enduring research partnerships is essential for improving links between knowledge and action to address sustainability challenges. Communication research can play a critical role in fostering more effective research partnerships, especially those concerned with knowledge co-production processes. This article focuses on community-university research partnerships and factors that influence participation in the co-production process. We identify specific pathways for improving partnership development through a prospective analytical approach that examines community officials’ interest in partnering with university researchers. Using survey responses from a statewide sample of Maine municipal officials, we conduct a statistical analysis of community-university partnership potential to test a conceptual model of partnership interest grounded in natural resource management theory and environmental communication. Our findings both support and advance prior research on collaborations. Results reveal that belief in the helpfulness of the collaborator to solve problems, institutional proximity, familiarity, perceived problem severity and problem type and trust influence interest in developing community-university partnerships. These findings underscore the benefits of proactively assessing partnership potential prior to forming partnerships and the important roles for communication research within sustainability science, especially with regard to strengthening partnership formation and knowledge co-production processes.
Keywords: community-university research partnerships; communication; sustainability; knowledge-action; stakeholders
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Hutchins, K.; Lindenfeld, L.A.; Bell, K.P.; Leahy, J.; Silka, L. Strengthening Knowledge Co-Production Capacity: Examining Interest in Community-University Partnerships. Sustainability 2013, 5, 3744-3770.
Hutchins K, Lindenfeld LA, Bell KP, Leahy J, Silka L. Strengthening Knowledge Co-Production Capacity: Examining Interest in Community-University Partnerships. Sustainability. 2013; 5(9):3744-3770.
Hutchins, Karen; Lindenfeld, Laura A.; Bell, Kathleen P.; Leahy, Jessica; Silka, Linda. 2013. "Strengthening Knowledge Co-Production Capacity: Examining Interest in Community-University Partnerships." Sustainability 5, no. 9: 3744-3770.