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Society demands academic engagement. In the Management literature most influenced by Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, academic engagement refers to the knowledge production of universities and research organizations with companies and other social actors. We detect some research gaps, such as including the health crisis among the antecedents of engagement. A health crisis is a threat to sanitary conditions, with repercussions on mortality rates, the economy and well-being. The aim of this project is to analyse how a health crisis affects academic engagement. Applicants have analysed how an economic crisis increases academic engagement and this project extends that question to the health crisis, based on the COVID-19 pandemic. This axis vertebrates how to fill in other knowledge gaps:
-The literature has focused on academic engagement with companies. The project proposes a systematic comparison of the effects of the health crisis on academic engagement with companies and also with health establishments.
-The literature considers that the channels linked to academic engagement are collaborative research, contracts, consultancy and informal ties. The proposal includes a novel channel, academic dissemination through non-scientific publications by researchers, their appearances in the media, and their artistic production. We will investigate whether a health crisis favours one type of channel more than another.
-The literature has studied individual antecedents of academic engagement, but hardly the psychological ones. In the project, we choose three, especially linked to the relationship between health crisis and academic engagement: resilience, emotional intelligence and prosocial motivation of researchers. We will analyse their role in mitigating the impact of the crisis.
-The literature also acknowledges the societal impact of researchers as a consequence of academic engagement, but their linking mechanisms are difficult to address. Here we propose a novel method, the analysis of the representations in popular culture (specifically, in films) of the effects of academic engagement on the societal impact of researchers, in a context of health crisis.
The project will use several methodologies. Through scientometrics, we will select a sample of key agents and build control variables. Conducting interviews to these agents will improve the research contextualisation, the use of narratives and the design of a survey to academic researchers. The survey will serve to measure their engagement with companies and health establishments and we will link it to two previous surveys by the team on the psychology of researchers and statistics on the impact of the crisis. With 2,500 responses over three periods (before, one year after, and a few years after the pandemic), it will become the largest longitudinal survey of researchers. In addition, with the participation of research stakeholders and the general public in a film club, we will qualitatively analyse pandemic films to explore the relationship between academic engagement and societal impact in a context of health crisis. The results of the project will expand knowledge about academic engagement and inform scientific policy on how to adapt its promotion in the presence of a health crisis.

Grant PID2022-137053NB-I00 funded by: