Universities increasingly facilitate as well as study social change alongside decision-makers and users. This is partly in response to demands for civic engagement and demonstrable public impact. While existing scholarship has critically examined these collaborations’ impacts, less work addresses either how they develop or what benefits they confer to participants—especially those operating at local scales. By examining two university-initiated networks comprising 28 cities in 12 European countries working on immigrant integration issues, we show how two-way knowledge exchange among researchers and municipal policymakers can foster peer learning and co-productive dynamics. We argue that these exchanges socialize cities into more cohesive groups with shared goals and agendas, particularly in low-salience policy areas, as integration can be in some national contexts. Moreover, universities and university-affiliated researchers play unique roles in facilitating this process. Our results have theoretical implications for multi-level and networked governance and offer practical guidance for designing knowledge exchange initiatives.
Broadhead, J. & Allen, W. (2022) How universities facilitate city network socialization through knowledge exchange on immigrant integration, Global Networks; Wiley; https://doi.org/10.1111/glob.12361