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Implement Sci. 2008 Aug 26;3:39. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-3-39.

Knowledge transfer in Tehran University of Medical Sciences: an academic example of a developing country.

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School of Public Health, Centre for Academic and Health Policy Research (CAHP), TUMS-KTE Study Group, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



In the past two decades, scientific publications in Iran have considerably increased their medical science content, and the number of articles published in ISI journals has doubled between 1997 and 2001. The aim of the present study was to determine how frequently knowledge transfer strategies were applied in Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS). We were also interested in studying the determining factors leading to the type of strategy selected.


All TUMS research projects that had received grants from inside and outside the university in 2004, and were completed by the end of 2006, were included in the study. In total, 301 projects were examined, and data on each of the projects were collected by the research team using a standardized questionnaire. The projects' principle investigators filled out a second questionnaire. In all, 208 questionnaires were collected.


Researchers stated being more engaged in the passive strategies of knowledge transfer, especially those publishing in peer-reviewed journals. The mean score for the researchers' performance in passive and active strategies were 22% and 9% of the total score, respectively. Linear regression analysis showed that the passive strategy score decreased with the increase in the number of years working as a professional (p = 0.01) and personal interest as the only reason for choosing the research topic (p = 0.01). Regarding the active strategies of knowledge transfer, health system research studies significantly raised the score (p = 0.02) and 'executive responsibility' significantly lowered it (p = 0.03).


As a study carried out in a Middle Eastern developing country, we see that, like many other universities in the world, many academicians still do not give priority to active strategies of knowledge transfer. Therefore, if 'linking knowledge to action' is necessary, it may also be necessary to introduce considerable changes in academic procedures and encouragement policies (e.g., employment and promotion criteria of academic members).

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