Using the lens of global perspectives, this chapter explores the form, function and impact of community-university research partnerships. It examines participatory approaches to research and impacts that serve to foster, facilitate and strengthen the unique relationship and democratic knowledge exchange process between partners, participants and across the sectors they represent. The chapter demonstrates that the process of measuring impact is informed by how partners and participants directly and indirectly involved in community-university research partnerships. It presents examples of hybrid approaches to assessment and evaluation of community-university research partnerships. Community-university research partners at the University of Brighton's Community-University Partnership Programme (CUPP) apply a theory of change to identify a pathway of change, which includes indicators to measure success leading to particular outcomes. Local, regional, national and international community-university research partnership structures, networked together, offer greater opportunities to draw on global perspectives and act in global arenas.
This book is based on a three-year international comparative study on poverty reduction and sustainability strategies . It provides evidence from twenty case studies around the world on the power and potential of community and higher education based scholars and activists working together in the co-creation of transformative knowledge. Opening with a theoretical overview of knowledge, democracy and action, the book is followed by analytical chapters providing lessons learned and capacity building, and on the theory and practice of community university research partnerships. It also includes lessons on models of evaluation, approaches to measuring the impact and an agenda for future research and policy recommendations. The book overviews the concept of engaged scholarship and then moves to focus on community-university research partnerships. It is based on a global empirical study of the role of community-university research partnerships within the context of poverty alleviation, the creation of sustainable societies and, broadly speaking, the Millennium Development Goals. The book frames the contribution of community-university research partnerships within a larger knowledge democracy framework, linking this practice to other spaces of knowledge democracy. These include the open access movement, new acceptance of the methods of community-based and participatory research and the call for cognitive justice or the need for epistemologies of the Global South. It takes a particular look at the variety of structures that have been created in the various universities and civil society research organizations to facilitate and enhance research partnerships.
Community-university research partnerships can be critically important locations of transformative energy in the larger effort to understand and use knowledge and its construction and co-construction in ways that are authentically linked to the struggles of people for a better world. The global neo-liberal economic agenda that has produced a kind of market utopia has been supported by a canon of western, largely male, elite knowledge systems and practices. The field of community-university research and engagement partnerships represents just one of the elements in an emerging knowledge democracy movement. The longer-term prospects of the world economy pose their own set of challenges to civil society and to knowledge partnerships. As the new economic powers of China, Brazil and other nations continue their ascendance, and as the West struggles to regain its economic equilibrium, universities and communities across the world will face new threats and opportunities in their work together.