Institutional Amnesia and the Rise of Public Health Knowledge Brokers

  • Katherine Smith
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy book series (SKP)


This short penultimate chapter highlights how various factors relating to the organisation of policymaking institutions, including the short time frames within which policymakers are commonly required to work, combined with an often rapid level of staff turnover, contribute to an extremely limited institutional memory. This can lead to similar ideas being recycled as they are re-presented (or as they re-emerge) as new ideas. It also suggests that researchers, for a variety of reasons (including the pressure to obtain research funding), do not always seek to draw policymakers’ attention to the recycling of similar ideas. Perhaps more positively (for those keen to ensure public health research does inform policy), the chapter notes that this means research-informed ideas are likely to have multiple opportunities to influence policy.


Knowledge Translation Public Health Research Knowledge Broker British Heart Foundation Social Research Council 
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Copyright information

© Katherine Smith 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK

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