K* is a convenient term for the plethora of acronyms for knowledge brokering (KB), knowledge translation (KT), knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE), knowledge mobilisation (KMb) and many others. These terms were explored at the K* conference, convened by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment & Health (UNU-INWEH) in April 2012, where it quickly became clear that knowledge-brokering, translation, mobilisation, exchange and communication shared much common ground in working to improve the links between practice, policy and research.
The K* concept paper just released addresses this array of terms, showing that they are all systemically linked to each other and trying to unify the field to some extent. It presents a framework for thinking about K*, which will make sharing approaches and lessons learned easier. It is not attempting to re-label people’s work or regulate it, but to acknowledge what is already there, note the links and commonalities, and strengthen the practical and analytical basis on which it is practiced. The paper is one of the first steps in an ongoing process to learn how the framework and concepts can be applied in practice. The report was refined via an extensive crowd-sourced peer review process and the conference participants form the kernel of a global network of K* practitioners who will continue to share experience and learn from each other