Kstar: Views, hopes, fears, and next steps

So the Kstar conference 2012 comes to an end?…. Or is it just the beginning?! What stood out for you? Where should we be going next? Over the past three days we’ve gathered your views and insight, which are all brought together in this collection of videos:


Once a K* practitioner, always a K* practitioner

By Louise Shaxson, Research Fellow, RAPID, Overseas Development Institute, London, UK

Like Alex, I’m greatly looking forward to the K* conference – the first global, cross-sectoral conference on knowledge translation/brokering/exchange/mobilisation – or, in Alex’s very neat shorthand, K*.  Any policymaking process means making decisions, and decisions need knowledge.  Whether we work with government, as practitioners or in the private sector; we need to be sure that we are correctly interpreting the evidence in front of us.  And the more complex the decisions, the more knowledge is power.  I’ll come back to this later: but to begin with, Alex gave a bit of his personal history on his experience navigating the knowledge-policy interface in an earlier blog, so I thought I’d write mine.

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K* 2012 – contribute anywhere, anytime!


Follow and participate in K*2012

For the first time K* 2012 brings together knowledge intermediaries working across the knowledge-policy interface all over the globe, to share experience, lessons learned and build a global community of knowledge practitioners. The conference will be held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from the 25th– 27th April. Can’t make it to Canada? You don’t need to miss out as we bring the K* 2012 experience and global community to you. With full social media reporting, including blogs, video interviews, live tweets and much more, we are mobilising the power of social media so you can contribute to the conference anywhere, anytime!
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What is KStar Initiative and why do we need it?

By Alex. T Bielak, Senior Fellow and Knowledge Broker, United Nations University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH)

Next week, practitioners working across the knowledge-policy interface will gather in Hamilton, Canada for the 2012 K* Conference to foster connections between knowledge intermediaries and advance K* theory and practice. In this blog, Alex. T Bielak outlines what K* is, why it is important and what he, as chair of the conference, hopes discussion will achieve.

Before I get to why the KStar concept cuts to the core of the knowledge field and what we hope to achieve with the K* Conference and associated activities, I’ll share a little personal history, and a confession.
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Addressing the challenges of promoting southern research

By Clare Gorman on behalf of GDNet

Responding to George Monbiot’s recent article in the UK’s Guardian on the exorbitant costs some academic publishers charge for access to research, Globethics.net raise an important point about how such practices “accentuate a “knowledge divide” between the global north and south. But the story doesn’t start there.

Like many of the well-worn discussions circulating around development, the problem of northern voices dominating research itself keeps raising its head and those of us who work to resolve the issue scratch our heads and think about what else we can do to solve it. How can most southern research organisations even begin to compete with their Northern counterparts who can enjoy advantages such as good funding, greater communications capacity and technical infrastructure? And what else can be done to create a more level playing field?

While it is true that there are many southern-based research institutes doing very well for themselves (BRAC’s Research and Evaluation Division immediately springs to mind), there are plenty of smaller organisations and individuals for whom raising their profile and sharing their work beyond their circle of influence is impossible without the help of others. Happily, knowledge brokers such as GDNet are helping address these inequalities and bringing southern research to the centre stage.

By creating platforms to showcase their research and providing opportunities for engagement, GDNet is supporting more than almost 11,000 researchers from the South to contribute and debate ideas in development thinking policy and practice. Working with members and partners across eight regions, GDNet not only advocates for local knowledge solving local problems but for southern research to make the same impact as that from northern institutes at the global level. Yet this ambitious remit to promote southern research knowledge is not without its difficulties.

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