The Nordic countries have a long tradition of participatory approaches to research and development, which organizes the cooperation between participants in different ways. Research circles are one of these forms of organization. Based on an empirical analysis of two research circles in a Danish RD project, this article focuses on the researcher's role, actions and challenges. The analysis focuses on the researcher as a co-creator of research circles. The analysis conclude that the researcher has the opportunity to negotiate the resources for participation for all participants in the research circle and that she assumes the responsibility for the organization of the circle meetings, their content and conduct. The researcher's actions and 'managerial’ work in the research circles affect the participants' experience of research circles as a democratic knowledge creation process. Discussions on participatory methods are seen as relevant to collaboration between universities, University Colleges (høgskola) and practices in research and development projects.

Keywords: research circles, participatory approaches, practice research, research in own practice, research and development, critical research approaches, collaboration, democratization