Academic Health Science Centres as Vehicles for Knowledge Mobilisation in Australia? A Qualitative Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia

2 Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

3 Centre for Sustainable Human Resource Management and Wellbeing, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

4 Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

5 The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

6 Caring Futures Institute, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia

7 Monash Business School, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

8 Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

9 Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

10 Adelaide Nursing School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

11 Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia


Despite increasing investments in academic health science centres (AHSCs) in Australia and an expectation that they will serve as vehicles for knowledge translation and exchange, there is limited empirical evidence on whether and how they deliver impact. The aim of this study was to examine and compare the early development of four Australian AHSCs to explore how they are enacting their impact-focused role.
A descriptive qualitative methodology was employed across four AHSCs located in diverse health system settings in urban and regional locations across Australia. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews with 15 academic, industry and executive board members of participating AHSCs. The analysis combined inductive and deductive elements, with inductive categories mapped to deductive themes corresponding to the study aims.
AHSCs in Australia are in an emergent state of development and are following different pathways. Whilst varied approaches to support research translation are apparent, there is a dominant focus on structure and governance, as opposed to action-oriented roles and processes to deliver strategic goals. Balancing collaboration and competition between partners presents a challenge, as does identifying appropriate ways to evaluate impact.
The early stage of development of AHSCs in Australia presents an important opportunity for formative learning and evaluation to optimise their enactment of knowledge mobilisation processes for impact.



Commentaries Published on this Paper    

  • When Health Systems Consider Research to Be Beyond the Scope of Healthcare Delivery, Research Translation Is Crippled; Comment on “Academic Health Science Centres as Vehicles for Knowledge Mobilisation in Australia? A Qualitative Study”

         Abstract | PDF


  • Knowledge Mobilization and Academic Health Science Centres in Australia; Comment on “Academic Health Science Centres as Vehicles for Knowledge Mobilisation in Australia? A Qualitative Study”

        Abstract | PDF


  •  AHSCs as Health Policy Transfer: Some Emergent Evidence From Australia; Comment on “Academic Health Science Centres as Vehicles for Knowledge Mobilisation in Australia? A Qualitative Study”

         Abstract | PDF


Authors' Response to the Commentaries

  •  Mobilising Knowledge in (and About) Academic Health Science Centres: Boundary Spanning, Inter-organisational Governance and Systems Thinking

        Abstract | PDF



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Volume 11, Issue 6
June 2022
Pages 840-846
  • Receive Date: 11 May 2020
  • Revise Date: 14 August 2020
  • Accept Date: 28 November 2020
  • First Publish Date: 14 December 2020