Deriving evaluation indicators for knowledge transfer and dialogue processes in the context of climate research
Knowledge transfer and dialogue processes in the field of climate science have captured intensive attention in recent years as being an important part of research activities. Therefore, the demand and pressure to develop a set of indicators for the evaluation of different activities in this field have increased, too. Research institutes are being asked more and more to build up structures in order to map these activities and, thus, are obliged to demonstrate the success of these efforts. This paper aims to serve as an input to stimulate further reflection on the field of evaluation of knowledge transfer and dialogue processes in the context of climate sciences. The work performed in this paper is embedded in the efforts of the German Helmholtz Association in the research field of earth and environment and is driven by the need to apply suitable indicators for knowledge transfer and dialogue processes in climate research center evaluations. We carry out a comparative analysis of three long-term activities and derive a set of indicators for measuring their output and outcome by balancing the wide diversity and range of activity contents as well as the different tools to realize them. The case examples are based on activities which are part of the regional Helmholtz Climate Initiative
Regional Climate Change (REKLIM) and the Climate Office for Polar Regions and Sea Level Rise at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. Both institutional units have been working on a wide range of different knowledge transfer and dialogue processes since 2008/2009. We demonstrate that indicators for the evaluation must be based on the unique objectives of the individual activities and the framework they are embedded in (e.g., research foci which provide the background for the performed knowledge transfer and dialogue processes) but can partly be classified in a principle two-dimensional scheme. This scheme might serve as a usable basis for climate research center evaluation in the future. It, furthermore, underlines the need for further development of proper mechanisms to evaluate scientific centers, in particular with regard to knowledge transfer and dialogue processes.