This workshop is the fourth of five events organised by the Network, against a background of increasing pressure for social scientists to undertake ‘engaged’ research that contributes to making a difference for the economy, society and culture.
The practical manner in which such aspirations might be realised has been debated at length. In an influential book written nearly two decades ago Michael Gibbons and colleagues argued that knowledge production had undergone a change from mode 1 to mode 2 (M. Gibbons et al., 1994, “The new production of knowledge: the dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies”).
Increasingly, it was argued science is conducted in a manner that is more participatory, transdisciplinary and reflexive. However, the education of young researchers continues to be dominated by a mode 1 view of knowledge production; with an emphasis on the academic community as the sole producer of scientific knowledge within hierarchically structured disciplines.
In this workshop we seek to revisit debates on researcher education in light of the increased recent demands for social science to be more relevant to user groups. In relation to graduate research education we will explore the changes that have taken place in PhD programmes culminating in the recent creation of Doctoral Training Sessions, and ask whether such programmes prepare students sufficiently for when their first interaction with users in real situations.
However, we also note that researcher education should not be exclusively viewed as a challenge for universities. We are currently witnessing the growth of people in policy, community and business settings in roles of social researchers or knowledge mobilisation officers for whom the issue of research education is also pressing.
Intuitively we might expect that the engaged nature of the research we wish to foster would make for researcher training mechanisms that were themselves co-operative and crossed institutional boundaries. It is practical solutions to these challenges that we will explore in this workshop.
Specifically, the workshop addressed the following questions:
• What are the education and training issues associated user engagement for producers and users of research in the social sciences?
• What areas of enthusiasm exist within the “Dancing with New Partners” network to pursue new approaches to researcher education for better user engagement?
A twitter timeline of the event can be downloaded here
The final report of the NCRM Seminar can be downloaded here
Presentations are available to download: