Panel 5. Understanding partnerships through action research

Scientific knowledge and practical challenges have not always been well-matched. There was, and still is, an increasing demand from societal actors to jointly find meaningful ways to research and implement systemic solutions to sustainability challenges. The Partnerships Resource Centre (PrC) fosters impactful research to contribute to societal challenges. In this panel, PrC will present three examples of action research projects* they are involved in to demonstrate that a variety of approaches can generate meaningful interaction between knowledge and practice in which co-creation takes place. This results in cross-sectoral learning, development, and accumulation of knowledge, and strengthening of partnering capacity. However, action research includes several challenges as the research takes shape while the interventions take place. We would like to discuss these challenges, including how to address them as there is no one way of doing action research. Topics to discuss include:

  • How to balance the level of engagement versus the integrity and independency of the researcher(s)?
  • How to be credible as a scientist versus generating actionable interventions for practitioners?
  • How to facilitate action and at the same time address the need for reflection and learning to enable knowledge development?
  • How to apply a rigorous and systematic research methodology and at the same time be flexible enough to take (unexpected) developments into account?