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2021 Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Politics and Gender

Bridging the Translational Gap the Californian Way – The Diffusion of an Organizational Innovation in University Medical Schools Around the World

Higher Education
Jens Jungblut
Universitetet i Oslo
Jens Jungblut
Universitetet i Oslo

The translation of basic medical research into new drugs and innovations in therapy and care for patients is generally been regarded as notoriously difficult. Key problems in this are cultural difference between academic researchers and the pharmaceutical industry as well as the level of development of basic research results coming out of universities compared to what the industry would expect as a starting point for their involvement. This translational gap poses a key challenge for progress in public health. One initiative that has been developed to bridge this gap is SPARK, a translational training program initially offered at the School of Medicine of Stanford University. This program has been running at Stanford for more than 12 years now and during this time has been shared with a growing number of international universities. This study examines the diffusion, translation, and institutionalization of SPARK both at Stanford and at several other international locations. Based on neo-institutional theory this paper aims to unpack the process through which the SPARK template travels around the world, in how far it gets translated to fit to local environments, and how it is institutionalized in the different locations.
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