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Conference Paper


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Since the notion of engaged scholarship was articulated and debated (Van de Ven, 2007, McKelvey, 2006, Van De Ven and Johnson, 2006b, Van De Ven and Johnson, 2006a) it has received increased scholarly attention, informed debates questioning the role of the university in society, and how universities produce relevant knowledge for and with society. While questions are raised about how an engaged scholarship lens might meaningfully improve academic-industry relationships, less attention has focused on the characteristics of engagement that can illustrate why one form of relationship in practice is more “engaged” compared to another. The engaged scholarship lens distances itself from efforts to theorise a knowledge transfer solution to narrowing conceptualised divides between academic and industry. Using this distinction as a foundation for characterising how we might improve such relationships, this paper compares and contrasts different solutions to better explore how knowledge is disseminated within and across academic-industry boundaries. To do so we draw upon knowledge transfer literature and relationship marketing’s understanding of inter-organisational relationships. We further explore the implications this approach might have for the role of the university and its ability to produce knowledge for and with society (Gibbons et al 1994). We draw upon the activities of the newly formed Technological University of Dublin (TU Dublin) as it attempts to position itself as a truly “engaged university”. The challenges in restructuring and repositioning TU Dublin to achieve this status focuses on its support for engaged research, community engagement and widening participation activities within the context of its organisational redesign initiative (2019-2022). This paper concludes by providing insights into how we can improve meaningful engagement. The implications of a transfer solution to academic-industry relationships for redesign is compared to a solution based on engaged scholarship. How either solution draws on aspects of knowledge management is discussed. We advocate for a deeper understanding of knowledge management based on engaged scholarship principles and illustrate how it differs from a knowledge management perspective based on assumptions of transfer in a context of organisational redesign.


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