New Spaces for Collaboration between Science and Practice in the Social and Spatial Sciences - “Innovation Spaces in the Social Science”


The current state of institutional structures interlacing science and practice exists only on a low level. In the project “Unknown Terrain?” we illustrated that collaboration between scientists and practitioners are relevant indeed to ensure knowledge transfer processes. Interactive formats support the joint production of knowledge and reduce barriers of knowledge transfer. The WZB’s project “New Innovation Spaces in the Social Science” sheds light to the question of how collaborations between actors deriving from different social realms (science, practice, policy) can be successfully designed. Our aim is to conceptualize and build up communicative platforms fostering shared knowledge production and interaction between scientists, policy-makers, and other practitioners.

For this purpose innovative forms of knowledge production and transfer in the social sciences will be implemented, tested and attended scientifically.

The first step is to exploreexamples of existing intermediating spaces in national and international contexts. In addition, expert interviews will be carried out in Germany and the US to identify potentially innovative structures. The principal research areas identified as relevant for the new platform are migration, education, demographic change and democracy. Workshops will be held and a “virtual community lab” created to support the collaboration between scientists and practitioners. This will enable us to pose the question whether new forms of knowledge emerge and whether researchers develop new identities in these institutional settings. The project refers to current discourses in the social studies of science, e.g. new forms of knowledge production, trans- and interdisciplinarity and innovation research and, in particular, the concept of social innovation. Especially findings of typical barriers and factors of success in interdisciplinary and intersectional collaboration are relevant for our project.

Main content

Selected Publications

Froese, Anna/Mevissen, Natalie/Böttcher, Julia/Simon, Dagmar/Lentz, Sebastian/Knie, Andreas (2014): Wissenschaftliche Güte und gesellschaftliche Relevanz der Sozial- und Raumwissenschaften: ein spannungsreiches Verhältnis. Handreichung für Wissenschaft, Wissenschaftspolitik und Praxis. WZB Discussion Paper SP III 2014-602. Berlin: WZB.