To identify effective strategies for managing and enhancing partnerships between conservation organizations (CO) and academic researchers, we interviewed 11 Canadian environmental nongovernmental and governmental organizations that manage conservation lands. Conservation organizations were asked to describe their strategies for setting research priorities, finding research partners, providing incentives, specifying and obtaining deliverables, applying results, and measuring the success of partnerships with academic researchers. Several effective strategies were identified for enhancing the success of academic partnerships. Many COs develop lists of internal research priorities to communicate to the research community beyond their existing networks. Funding is widely viewed as the most effective incentive; however, most COs are limited in the amount of direct research funding they can provide. Instead, they rely on alternative incentives, including providing access to land and data, accommodations at research stations, equipment, and expertise. Peer-reviewed articles are often the most desirable deliverables; however, alternate deliverables are usually welcomed by COs. These include reports, data sets, literature reviews, and workshops or seminars where researchers share knowledge directly with practitioners. Establishing written contracts for deliverables and following up by phone or email helps to ensure that deliverables are received. Participation in research by CO practitioners serving on student committees or as coauthors helps to keep research relevant to COs' needs. COs can develop systems to track and apply research conducted in partnership with academics, including developing records for completed projects, and disseminating research results beyond the project team.
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Vol. 36 • No. 1