Research collaborations beyond the boundaries of science—such as transdisciplinary, participatory or co-research projects—usually aim at increasing the societal impact of the research conducted. In the literature discussing such collaborations, as well as in science policy endorsing them, it is generally assumed that the wanted societal impact is achieved through exchange that contributes to knowledge production and to the results of the research. However, collaboration beyond the boundaries of science can help a research project reach its societal impact goals even if it does not contribute to the epistemic outcomes of the project at all. Instead, other kinds of contributions from the extra-academic partners, and what the extra-academic partners receive from the collaboration, can be crucial. Recognizing this helps us to better understand existing practices, and to identify potentially interesting forms of collaboration beyond the boundaries of science.

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