Network for Research on Knowledge Relations (KNOWREL)

2023 - 2024 (Ongoing) Project number: 23722-1
KNOWREL aims to facilitate research on knowledge relations through establishing a scholarly network, starting with Nordic partners, and extending it to colleagues around the world.

The conditions and expectations surrounding international knowledge production (KP) – here referring to research, corporate research and development (R&D), and higher education – are changing. Long remained a field characterized by overtly liberal, open, and inclusive practices, international KP cooperation is now facing stronger scrutiny with regards to protecting national security and academic freedom. Developments concerning China, especially, but also Russia, and other authoritarian states building strong KP capabilities, have alerted authorities in many liberal, democratic states. This has already led to stricter export controls and new guidelines for KP cooperation. Many countries draw a distinct line between cooperation related to states that are part of their political security alliances – and not. 

Amidst the rapid spread of new regulations and guidelines, we lack systematic knowledge about how researchers and their institutions deal with ethical and security-related challenges. Moreover, we lack knowledge about the effects, including possible negative consequences, of the regulations and guidelines that are emerging. Relatedly, major power rivalry and conflict between countries may trigger new forms of science competition, possibly disrupting established networks, practices, and standards for measuring excellence. The Nordic region, which includes countries with varying relations to the EU and NATO, and has considerable intra-region collaboration, is ideal for comparing and learning.

KNOWREL will provide overviews of the changes happening around international KP relations, inspire and facilitate basic and policy-relevant research, and organize activities for interaction with relevant authorities, business representatives and other societal stakeholders.

KNOWREL is structured around a series of workshops (in different Nordic countries), bringing together established and early-career academics to discuss and plan joint research and publication. The project period is 2023–2024 and the activities are funded by NordForsk (NOS-HS Exploratory workshop call).

KNOWREL’s key researchers (partners) include:

Hans Jørgen Gåsemyr (Sr. Researcher and Project Manager) and Kristin Fjæstad (Sr. Researcher), Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) (responsible and coordinating institution) 

Stine Haakonsson (Assoc. Prof.) and Maj Grasten (Asst. Prof.), Copenhagen Business School 

Tommy Shih (Assoc. Prof), Lund University and The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) 

Sirke Mäkinen (Lecturer), University of Helsinki 

Gunnar Sivertsen (Research Prof.), Nordic Inst for Studies of Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU)



Funding program

NOS-HS Exploratory workshop call

Project Manager

Governance  Development policy  Foreign policy  The EU  Russia and Eurasia  Europe  Asia  The Nordic countries  Comparative methods  Globalisation

Kristin Fjæstad

Senior Research Fellow, head of the Research group on Russia, Asia and international trade



Stine Haakonsson, Copenhagen Business School

Maj Grasten, Copenhagen Business School

Tommy Shih, Lund University

Sirke Mäkinen, University of Helsinki

Gunnar Sivertsen, Nordic Inst for Studies of Innovation, Research and Education