The National Academies

NCHRP 23-30 [Anticipated]

Knowledge Strategies to support the Research Lifecycle and Application of Research Results

  Project Data
Source: AASHTO Committee on Knowledge Management
Funds: $400,000
Staff Responsibility: David M. Jared
Fiscal Year: 2023

This project has been tentatively selected and a project statement (request for proposals) is expected to be available on this website. The problem statement below will be the starting point for a panel of experts to develop the project statement.

The transportation research community has invested a significant amount of effort to support implementation of research results. The efforts included practices to incorporate implementation expectations in problem statements, contracts, and reports; studies on how to communicate research results and practices to document the value of research; and surveys to capture the use of research products. However, adoption of research findings is still slow, and some are concerned that the value of research isn’t commensurate with the investment in research. This affects the transportation sector as a whole.

The slow adoption of applied research findings in the implementation phase is not unique to the transportation sector. The National Institute of Health has established the National Center for Advancing Translation Science to advance knowledge translation (KT) as a practice that “transforms the translational process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients faster.” The National Institute for Health describes knowledge translation science as “focused on streamlining the process of moving (“translating”) … findings into … practice.” The practice of KT maps the lifecycle from research idea to implementation and evaluation of the products, through adoption in real world communities. KT emphasizes the engagement with stakeholders that are closely involved in the target implementation community in order to achieve effective adoption of research. KT also expands the traditional research lifecycle to include feedback to researchers at each stage of the process, and particularly from community adoption. This continual feedback helps researchers and developers improve projects, services, explanations, and adaptions for current and future work. An effective KT cycle helps foster nimble organizations that can respond more quickly to disruptions in practice, use of emerging technology and practice, and changing policy.

The objective of this research is to provide a guide that includes: (a) definition of KT, identification of sectors that are currently leveraging KT methods, and a summary of the current uses of KT variations in application; (b) explanation of the KT practices, including participants, activities, and resources needed at each stage of the KT life cycle; (c) review of current state DOT practices to integrate research and new practice; (d) comparison of current methods with the KT lifecycle to identify leverage points and improvement opportunities; and (e) actions to strengthen KT practices within the transportation life cycle and technical disciplines.

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