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Syst Rev. 2015 Aug 19;4:110. doi: 10.1186/s13643-015-0094-3.

Characteristics and determinants of knowledge transfer policies at universities and public institutions in medical research--protocol for a systematic review of the qualitative research literature.

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Institute for Public Health, Im Neuenheimer Feld 324, Heidelberg, Germany.
Institute for Public Health, Im Neuenheimer Feld 324, Heidelberg, Germany.
Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University Hospital Heidelberg, Voßstr.2, Heidelberg, 69115, Germany.



Universities, public institutions, and the transfer of knowledge to the private sector play a major role in the development of medical technologies. The decisions of universities and public institutions regarding the transfer of knowledge impact the accessibility of the final product, making it easier or more difficult for consumers to access these products. In the case of medical research, these products are pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, or medical procedures. The ethical dimension of access to these potentially lifesaving products is apparent and distinguishes the transfer of medical knowledge from the transfer of knowledge in other areas. While the general field of technology transfer from academic and public to private actors is attracting an increasing amount of scholarly attention, the specifications of knowledge transfer in the medical field are not as well explored. This review seeks to provide a systematic overview and analysis of the qualitative literature on the characteristics and determinants of knowledge transfer in medical research and development.


The review systematically searches the literature for qualitative studies that focus on knowledge transfer characteristics and determinants at medical academic and public research institutions. It aims at identifying and analyzing the literature on the content and context of knowledge transfer policies, decision-making processes, and actors at academic and public institutions. The search strategy includes the databases PubMed, Web of Science, ProQuest, and DiVa. These databases will be searched based on pre-specified search terms. The studies selected for inclusion in the review will be critically assessed for their quality utilizing the Qualitative Research Checklist developed by the Clinical Appraisal Skills Programme. Data extraction and synthesis will be based on the meta-ethnographic approach.


This review seeks to further the understanding of the kinds of transfer pathways that exist in medical knowledge transfer as well as what factors lead to the adoption of one pathway over another. The aim is to provide evidence for political and academic actors designing policies for the translation of medical knowledge and public-private cooperation.


PROSPERO CRD42015014241 .

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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