Translational networks in healthcare? Evidence on the design and initiation of organizational networks for knowledge mobilization

Louise Fitzgerald, Gill Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


International attention has focussed on the variations between research evidence and practice in healthcare. This prompted the creation of formalized translational networks consisting of academic-service partnerships. The English Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs) are one example of a translational network. Using longitudinal, archival case study data from one CLAHRC over a 3-year period (2008-11), this article explores the relationship between organizational form and the function(s) of a translational network. The article focuses on the research gaps on the effective structures and appropriate governance to support a translational network. Data analysis suggested that the policy of setting up translational networks is insufficient of itself to produce positive translational activity. The data indicate that to leverage the benefits of the whole network, attention must be paid to devising a structure which integrates research production and use and facilitates lateral cross-disciplinary and cross-organizational communication. Equally, appropriate governance arrangements are necessary, particularly in large, multi-stakeholder networks, where shared governance may be questionable. Inappropriate network structure and governance inhibits the potential of the translational network. Finally, the case provides insights into the movement of knowledge within and between network organizations. The data demonstrate that knowledge mobilization extends beyond knowledge translation; knowledge mobilization includes the negotiated utilization of knowledge - a balanced power form of collaboration. Whilst much translational effort is externally focused on the health system, our findings highlight the essential need for the internal negotiation and mobilization of knowledge within academia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • England
  • Knowledge mobilization
  • Knowledge translation
  • Structure and governance
  • Translational networks


Dive into the research topics of 'Translational networks in healthcare? Evidence on the design and initiation of organizational networks for knowledge mobilization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this