Mobilising academic research for transformative change
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In order to face the societal challenges of today and tomorrow, governments look for innovations that could help in solving these challenges. In recent years a third frame on these governmental policies has been formed, namely transformative policy. This study examines a mission-driven knowledge ecosystem (KES) as an example of how knowledge can be organised for transformative change. It is researched what the influence of such a mission-driven KES is on the credibility cycle of an academic PhD researcher. This results in the following research question: What is the influence of a mission-driven knowledge ecosystem on the credibility cycle of an academic researcher? Literature on directionality, KESs and the credibility cycle is used to answer this research question. The concept of directionality is used to explain how they play a role in a mission-driven KES. Literature on KES is used to form a framework that can be used to study a mission-driven KES. Lastly, literature on the credibility cycle is used to study the research process of a researcher. A case study was carried out on the mission-driven KES on CATO. CATO was organised around Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) knowledge, ranging from technical knowledge of the technology to public perception of CCS. A document analysis was carried out to study this mission-driven KES and interviews were done with PhD researchers, supervisors, coordinators and the director to get insights into PhD research in CATO. CATO had several mechanisms and characteristics of a mission-driven KES. There was a group of heterogenous actors working together in a social network to formulate new knowledge in the field of CCS. PhD researchers encountered actors from industry or researchers from other disciplines they would normally not interact with. This resulted in research that was aligned with the mission of the ecosystem and collaboration was induced. Furthermore, the credibility cycle of PhD researchers changed to a credibility cycle which was, next to the academic needs, also focused on societal and industrial needs. All in all, a mission-driven KES significantly influences the credibility cycle of a PhD researcher. However, it must be closely monitored if the goal and mission of the KES are truly beneficial for society. In the case of CATO the role of industrial incumbents was more significant than the role of NGOs. The public controversy around CCS shows the importance of the involvement of NGOs and society in the formation of a mission-driven KES.