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Industry-science collaboration in shellfish aquaculture and the management of knowledge processes Paradis, Erika Samek

Abstract

In the new global, knowledge-based economy, knowledge is recognized as a driving force of social and economic development: it is the key to innovation, as well as to the goal of sustainability. Growing economic, social, political and environmental pressures on both the industry and the science sector have driven many organizations to re-assess their own capacities of producing, mobilizing and absorbing knowledge, and search for effective knowledge management strategies. One strategy that is increasingly utilized is the process of intersectoral collaboration. Collaboration between the two sectors of industry and science has been particularly fostered by government, through R&D policies and funding strategies. It is seen as an efficient strategy to improve knowledge production, diffusion and absorption capacities across both sectors, by creating synergies. However, industry and science operate within different contexts. Collaboration between them often presents significant difficulties. Using the case of shellfish aquaculture in Canada, this exploratory study takes a broad sociological approach in the investigation of industry-science collaboration. It explores mainly the phenomena of occupational cultures and knowledge networks, in order to seek a better understanding of some of the social processes by which shellfish aquaculture knowledge is produced, diffused and validated. The study uses qualitative methods and interviews with shellfish growers and aquaculture scientists in three different regions of Canada, in an attempt to identify some of the structural, cultural and relational factors that may affect collaboration processes between them. Once we have identified and understood the factors that favour or inhibit intersectoral collaboration, we may be in a better position to develop improved tools and mechanisms that will facilitate the process and allow both the industry and the science sector to achieve the full benefits of the knowledge that is being developed.

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