Knowledge brokers connect research, policy and practice

Photo: pixabay

Photo: pixabay


Knowledge brokering is a technical term used to describe activities to facilitate mutual learning between researchers, practitioners and policy makers. While frameworks exist for assessing academic impact, few equivalent tools are available for assessing the contributions of knowledge brokers at the interface between research, policy and practice. In a scientific paper, four authors from Eawag and the Ecotox Centre have compiled a set of indicators which allow knowledge brokers to demonstrate the benefits of their work and to identify opportunities for improvement of their practices.


Many scientists working at Eawag act as knowledge brokers. Knowledge brokering encompasses a spectrum of activities, from synthesising research into fact sheets, to organising workshops to identify knowledge gaps and supporting the co-production of new knowledge through partnerships between researchers and stakeholders. These activities require serious investments of time and energy. While there are clear (though sometimes contested) options for assessing the quantity and quality of academic activities (number of publications, journal impact factors and citation rates), knowledge brokers currently lack an equivalent set of metrics. In response to this, four authors from two different Eawag departments and the Ecotox Centre have compiled a set of indicators to measure the quantity and quality of the activities of individual knowledge brokers in projects, programs or platforms at the interface between research, policy and practice. The list of activities and corresponding indicators can be used by knowledge brokers to identify ways to demonstrate the benefits of their work to their employers and other stakeholders, as well as to improve the effectiveness of their practice.

The following diagram summarizes typical knowledge brokering activities and arranges them along a stylized programme cycle.