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Knowledge transfer as a task of the IfL

In the Leibniz Association, sharing the results of research with the public is an expression of the social responsibility of science. Every research and service area at the IfL contributes to carrying out this mission – as laid down in our statutes – as best as possible. We consider ourselves obligated to review our instruments of knowledge transfer constantly and, wherever necessary, to adapt them to the current social needs. In doing so, we do not consider knowledge transfer to be a one-way street but a mutual process of communication from which we, too, may learn for our research work.

Transfer formats

In mediating our research results, we pursue several goals. On the one hand, we want to reach a wider public with particular results, on the other, we have very particular target groups in view, for example in the education sector or professionals in municipalities and ministries. Depending on our goal, we use different mediation formats. These include publications, exhibitions, exhibits and geographical excursions as much as lectures, workshops and expert discussions or also press interviews and media partnerships. If there is such a thing as an IfL ‘signature style of communication’, it is communication by means of visual methods central to which most frequently are maps.

Research into knowledge transfer

we not only practise transfer but we keep trying to examine it critically and assess it continually. We also question the systematic conditions for successful scientific communication and the possibilities of integrating transfer elements into the research process. And we examine the extent to which in a transfer evaluation tools for impact analysis are possible and which are relevant and appropriate.

Guidelines for knowledge transfer

How can we connect our transfer activities more strategically and coordinate them better according to conceptual viewpoints? Step by step and proceeding systematically, over an extended period of time we have gotten to the bottom of this question. This has resulted in a transfer concept that, since its adoption in mid-2017, provides the framework for knowledge transfer at the IfL. In conjunction with the other strategic concepts and the updating of the research programme of the Institute, the guidelines are constantly revised. Their overarching goal is the establishment at the Institute of transfer as a self-evident component of research, i.e. a kind of transfer culture and, moreover, to strengthen the ‘IfL brand’ in the perception of outsiders. We have taken a first step in this direction by categorically including the idea of transfer already in preliminary considerations of new research projects. Therefore, a transfer appointee supports scientists in developing early suitable strategies and formats for the sharing of research results with a wider public.