Key research themes are the development of open schooling networks and interdisciplinary teaching approaches focusing on complex sustainability challenges. Knain is leader of the H2020 project Science Education for Action and Engagement towards Sustainability (SEAS), 2019-2022.
Related research interests are scientific literacy, socio-scientific issues and inquiry-based science teaching. Knain has analyzed students' learning in a language perspective in a variety of projects, including teaching focusing on multimodal representations. Knain led project the project Representation and participation in School science (REDE), funded by the Research Council of Norway (2016-2019). REDE aims to develop teaching practices by way of visual representations such as graphs, diagrams, images and simulations.
Knain was also project leader for the project "Elevers som forskere i naturfag" (Students' as researchers in School science), funded by the Norwegian Research Council 2007-2012. The project analyzed and developed teaching practices in secondary school in Norway in cooperation with teachers.
- Professor of Science Education, The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), Dep. of Mathematical Sciences and Technology, Section for Learning and Teacher Education (SLL) 2007-2015. Associate professor 2004-2007.
- Postdoc at University of Oslo, Dep. of Teacher Education and School Development, 2002-2005.
- Dr. scient, 1999, University of Oslo, Dep. of Teacher Education and School Development (ILS). Thesis title: “Naturfagets tause stemme. Diskursanalyse av læreboker for Natur- og miljøfag i et allmenndannelsesperspektiv» (The silent voice of science education. Discourse analysis of science textbooks in the perspective of scientific literacy).
- Teacher Education Program (PPU) 1993, University of Oslo, Dep. of Teacher Education and School Development (ILS).
- Hovedfag (master) in astronomy 1991, University of Oslo, Institute for theoretical astrophysics.
H. M. King's Gold Medal, 2001