Introducing a New Approach to Knowledge Exchange

Cartoon of two heads facing each other, one asking questions and the other coming up with ideas

On Wednesday 24th March, Research and Innovation Services (RIS) welcomed practitioners from PraxisAuril, Research England and Universities UK to talk to Research and Innovation (R&I) staff from across the University about the emerging Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) and Knowledge Exchange Concordat (KEC).

The aim of the KEF is to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public funding for KE and to further a culture of continuous improvement in universities. It will form the third pillar of assessment of university activities, alongside the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The KEC will support this, by asking Universities to sign up to good principles and practice which embed KE into the institution.

The KEF will help us to enhance our KE activities at Kent and benefit the region and beyond. Our submission to the development year KEF as well as participation in the KEC are already clearly helping us to get a much clearer sense of what we have achieved, what we’re doing really well and what we can achieve in the future on the KE front. They will enable us to live up to our ambitions as a civic University, permitting not just high quality research but also to making wherever possible a positive difference within society and more widely.Shane Weller, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation Services

Whilst many R&I staff members work with some element of knowledge exchange, few have come into direct contact with the KEF and the KEC. Last weeks’ event, which was open to all academic staff supporting knowledge exchange and innovation within our Schools, and Divisions, was an opportunity for staff to increase their understanding of the KEF and KEC, and build their confidence in how they can play a part in the University’s Knowledge Exchange activity and reporting.

Tamsin Mann, Greg Wade, Hamish McAlpine, Myles Hanlon and Carole Barron
Tamsin Mann (top left), Greg Wade (top right), Hamish McAlpine (bottom left), Myles Hanlon (middle), Carole Barron (bottom right)

The event kicked off with an introduction from Deputy Vice Chancellor of RIS, Shane Weller, followed by an overview of the KEF from Dr Hamish McAlpine, Head of Knowledge Exchange Data and Evidence at Research England. Policy Manager, Greg Wade, and Policy Researcher, Myles Hanlon, from Universities UK then shared their knowledge from leading on the development and implementation of the KEC, after which Tamsin Mann, Head of Policy at PraxisAuril provided a rounded perspective on what the KEF and KEC might achieve and some of the challenges and opportunities facing the Knowledge Exchange community in the University sector. In the second half of the event, staff members joined Shane Weller and Director of Knowledge Exchange and Innovation, Carole Barron, for an internal discussion about what the KEF and KEC will mean for Kent.

Carole Barron, who has been appointed a KEC Evaluator, said of the event: “This was a brilliant opportunity… to increase our understanding of the Knowledge Exchange Framework and Knowledge Exchange Concordat. We are at a pivotal point in the evolution of knowledge exchange nationally, and at Kent. One I have not witnessed in all the years I have worked in this area.  We could see them as a distraction, or proactively embrace the whole process and all its benefits.  I am pleased to say, we chose the latter and signed up to the Concordat development year and the Framework.”

A full recording of the event is available for University of Kent staff to watch online here.

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