Being there in the flex: humanities and social science collaborations with nonacademic actors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the face of reduced public funding of science and increased demands for ‘value for money’, academic researchers find themselves hard pressed to produce relevant research and demonstrate their utility to society. These pressures are particularly prominent in the humanities and social sciences (HSS) where practical value is frequently questioned. This article investigates how HSS can be made ‘relevant’ through the qualitative case study of a funding instrument fostering immersive collaboration between HSS researchers and non-academic actors. The research is a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews with the funded researchers and representatives of the funding agency. The paper provides insights into the motivations and experiences of HSS researchers embarking on the quest for relevance and the difficulties they encounter. In particular, the study finds that the key challenge for HSS researchers lies in balancing the level of engagement required to be relevant with the requirements of an academic career.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • collaboration, cross-sectoral, Funding instrument, humanities and social sciences, mobility, relevance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1718-1729
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 3
Publication categoryResearch