This paper analyses the work of a policy review group within the Schools and Social Capital Network (SSCN) of the Applied Educational Research Scheme (AERS) in Scotland. The AERS discourses of inter-institutional collaboration are introduced and the role of collaboration in a redesign of knowledge production and transfer in the Scottish educational research context explored. The conceptual frame of social capital is then introduced and used to critically analyse the work of one AERS SSCN policy review group to uncover signs of emergent more collaborative practices of knowledge generation and exchange which AERS may be producing. The analysis points to some success in the redesign of inter-institutional educational research in Scotland as collaborative rather than competitive, but, critically, this analysis also identifies a number of important issues and questions in relation to the institutional distribution of research capacity and benefits that now need to be considered and addressed for the sustainability of such collaborative – and non-competitive - research relationships and networks beyond the life of AERS.
The author gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Professor Julie Allan, University of Stirling to the section concerning the origins of AERS.