It can be done. Don't heel strike, ever, that's what's going to kill your knees, regardless of the surface you're on. Make sure you land on your forefoot or midfoot (forefoot if it's more of a run, midfoot if it's more of a jog), with your body weight over top of your feet. If it's behind your feet, your knees suffer.
To make it easy to not heel strike, don't wear shoes with a raised heel - anything more than Nike Free 3.0s is too much, if you can get minimalist shoes that have no heel at all, and soles only a few mm thick, all the better. The reason barefoot runners don't have knee problems is the soles of the feet are very sensitive, so if you're landing with any kind of impact, your feet hurt before you're even damaging your knees. You said barefoot isn't an option for you, and I agree, I don't want to run in dog poop or on broken glass, but I still go for thin shoes that let me feel the ground very easily.
As for reliable and verifiable studies - there aren't any. Anyone who has an attachment to the traditional running method or the minimalist running method will be able to poke holes in any study supporting the other side. Incidentally, there aren't any studies that show that traditional running shoes offer any sort of benefit (and I would suggest if there haven't been any in 40 years, they're not going to ever show up), conversely there haven't been any to satisfy doubters that minimilast or barefoot running is any safer. But if you wear shoes that make it easy for your feet to hurt, you just make sure you're running in a way that they don't hurt. If they do start hurting and you can't change your technique so it stops. Cut your run short and walk home. If you're wearing shoes that offer lots of cushioning, you'll only find out there was a problem when your knees start hurting.
Also, the no heel striking rule doesn't apply when walking, although you don't want to literally "strike", it's more of a roll over your heel on the outside of your foot to the balls.
Another thing I've heard suggested, but haven't been able to test for myself or find any studies to back up (no surprise there), is that a higher cadence and shorter stride is associated with lower injury rates.