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Pitfalls and opportunities in knowledge sharing: experiences from a research capacity building project in Central America


  • Bjorn Johnson
  • Jens Muller
  • Birgitte Gregersen
  • Jeffrey Orozco


A number of attempts have been made in the North to assist in the formation of independent research capacities in the South by establishing knowledge sharing through North-South research collaboration. The development aid department of the Danish ministry of foreign affairs initiated one such attempt. Aalborg University was approached by the National University of Costa Rica to make a joint research venture within the field of sustainable development. The project got a Central American regional perspective by including participants from Nicaragua and El Salvador. It aimed at the support of relevant Central American research activities, including the formation of adequate organisational setups. In this paper, the Central American universities are viewed as important subsystems of the respective national systems of innovation. It discusses research capacity enhancement through collaborative research between Denmark and Central America. To what extent did the knowledge transfer and sharing, as well as the organisational capacity building efforts, succeed? Our overall conclusion is that the research capacity that exists in the North has to be carefully adapted to the specific context in places where it is expected to be useful. Research capacity is built much more by interaction and collaboration than by one-way transfers.

Suggested Citation

  • Bjorn Johnson & Jens Muller & Birgitte Gregersen & Jeffrey Orozco, 2009. "Pitfalls and opportunities in knowledge sharing: experiences from a research capacity building project in Central America," International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 2(4), pages 250-273.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijtlid:v:2:y:2009:i:4:p:250-273

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