The ReCo is hosted by the Karl Polanyi Insitute of Political Economy and is presently funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Objectives of the ReCo :

1) To provide a dynamic environment for learning and exchange between researchers, practitioners and policy makers. A commitment to knowledge sharing which we refer to as the co-production of knowledge, to distinguish it from knowledge “transfer” that is unidirectional. In our approach, the co-production of knowledge is dynamic, ongoing and based on a dialogue between many actors drawn from different communities, the architects of new knowledge.

2) To engage those involved in the policy process in a research dialogue with researchers, students and representatives of a number of organizations and movements, at the continental level, in the co-production of knowledge on institutional design and innovation in public policy.

3) To contribute to the growing literature on policy innovation, including civil society initiatives, and to contribute to the conceptualization of this process, to capture the inclusion of new actors in policy design.

The methodology that we have adopted has recognized that the dialogue initiated between researches, practitioners and policy makers, is itself critical to policy innovation. This methodology has provided a basis upon which to construct a conceptual framework for further research. More than action-based or participatory research, the project has developed a conceptual framework that explores the impact of innovative practices initiated by civil society on public policy innovation. Our earlier work demonstrated that the binary distinction made between bottom-up or top-down approaches to socio-economic transformation and development is insufficient to capture a process that is dynamic and interactive, engaging many stakeholders in a dialogue that helps to shape new and enabling policies. Current references to “communities of practice” or “policy dialogue” better capture these processes that we are observing in Quebec/Canada and in Latin America, with their obvious specificities. It is on this basis that we are able to ground our work analytically to complement and enrich our commitment to extensively document civil society initiatives and policy innovation.

Our approach, the co-production of knowledge, is dynamic and based on dialogue among different actors in the co-construction of policy processes. The co-production of knowledge is a means to share and disseminate knowledge and to create dynamic spaces that will consolidate our “Community of Practice” and to encourage the exchange of knowledge and ideas among its members. Hence the ReCo engages in different activities including international conference and training seminars and internship programs.