How does a hospital or department with a very limited prior research tradition conduct scientific research? What is the value and benefit of investment in non-commercial research in settings where focus is on everyday patient treatment and care is? How does scientific research fit into the clinic and what role can it play?
A range of initiatives joined under headings such as Translational Research, Academic-Health Science Partnerships, and Mode 2 Research seek to answer these very questions, and to close an alleged gap between scientific research and clinical work. These initiatives seek to better integrate scientific knowledge with clinical knowledge in order to benefit and extend both. The backdrop of these initiatives is an increased research policy attention towards research impact and the value of public research investments that likewise seek to move health care research closer to patients, clinics and measurable health care outcomes.
This study entitled “Translational networks” examines the interplay of scientific practice and clinical practice suggesting that empirical studies of the actual practices and activities through which scientific knowledge translates and transforms can provide new insights into the question of research value and knowledge translation in a health care setting. A large body of literature discusses a gap between science and clinic, how effective relationships between the two can be modelled, how the gap can be bridged, or how knowledge can be packaged and transferred most effectively. Few studies focus on the actual daily science-clinic interplays and networks as a significant phenomenon the empirical exploration of which might contribute important knowledge and new insights.