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

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

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, Australia

Abstract

Background
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.
 
Methods
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.
 
Results
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.
 
Conclusion
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.

Keywords


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