Knowledge exchange funding

The Office for Students and Research England provided £10 million of funding to 20 higher education providers to explore the impact of student involvement in knowledge exchange.

Better evidence of the student benefits of knowledge exchange will help us to share good practice across the sector and improve future knowledge exchange activities.

This will help to optimise the use of the Higher Education Innovation Fund, improving value for money for public funds.

The deadline for bids for this funding competition was Friday 13 December 2019. As part of the assessment process, bids were reviewed by an external panel.

Chair - David Maguire Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Dundee
Dr Debbie Buckley-Golder Head of Innovation Talent and Skills, Innovate UK
Ruth Carlson Former student panel member, Office for Students
Maria Delgado Director of Research, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and member of Research England Council
Gurpreet Jagpal Director of the Aldridge Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and Honorary Fellow of Enterprise Educators
Kate Lander Board member, Office for Students and Chief Executive Officer of Ivy House London
Joe Marshall Chief Executive, National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)
Andy Penaluna Former Chair of Enterprise Educators UK

Funded projects

The following higher education providers were awarded funding through this competition.

This project will scale up and enhance existing employability initiatives and introduce new interventions which are designed with the specific composition of the provider’s student body in mind.

It will engage students in team-based knowledge exchange activities through a range of interventions which provide opportunities for students from all backgrounds to find an entry point that suits them, lowering the barriers to participation.

The project will provide students with relevant, real world opportunities to make a difference through projects that create societal impact and resonate more closely with their own experiences.

This project aims to develop and disseminate an adaptable and effective knowledge exchange model of practice based on students’ immersive international experiences.

The experiences will provide the opportunity to:

  • learn from communities
  • gain an appreciation of indigenous knowledge and insights into the challenges of particular settings
  • engage in mutually enriching discussions allowing cultural, knowledge and skill sharing across students and local communities
  • promote collaborative thinking to address agreed issues.

This will help to maximise economic and societal benefits for external partners, as well as benefiting students themselves.

This project aims to provide evidence of innovative ways of engaging students in knowledge exchange through a focus on the promotion of mental health through sport and the arts, creating a transferable student-focused model of knowledge exchange.

It will do this by providing opportunities for more students to become involved in activities which improve their knowledge, understanding and experiences of mental health in education in local communities.

This will contribute positively to the local agenda of improving the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

This project will share, develop and expand successful and complementary approaches to student-mediated knowledge exchange activities. It will work with overseas providers to consider how the programme can be embedded in curriculum design and will create a tool which will calculate the impact of these activities.

It will prioritise disadvantaged students, demonstrating what works, focusing on sustainability and delivering external benefits such as solutions to business challenges.

By innovative use of virtual environments, this project will address the barriers that stop many time-poor students from participating in more traditional knowledge exchange activities. Students will participate in employer-set challenges and consultancy projects agreed with domestic and international partners.

This project aims to identify effective knowledge exchange practice and seeks to create a comprehensive and sustainable framework that would provide opportunities for the integration of work and learning in degree study.

It will do this by analysing and comparing current approaches to knowledge exchange involving student engagement with industry in order to identify the key strengths and weaknesses of the methods in terms of benefit to students.

As a result, it will create a work-integrated learning framework which will embed knowledge exchange activities into the curriculum and optimise the benefit of such activities to students and partners through expanded industry engagement.

This project will establish a new, student-driven, multi-disciplinary professional services organisation, combining the subject disciplines of law, management, economics and digital, to provide pro bono, social impact-driven consultancy and venture capital services to external partners.

This will be accompanied by a new unit that integrates the university’s current student-led knowledge exchange programmes with new innovative programmes.

This unit will see students working on collaborative projects, incorporating technology and supporting enterprise and innovation. Students will benefit from peer-to-peer knowledge exchange activities, co-creation, and exposure to professionals across a wide range of disciplines and organisations.

This project will develop a collaboration between three arts higher education providers to support the development of the next generation of freelancers, start-ups and enterprising employees within the creative industries.

It will do this by exploring which activity best supports and develops enterprising behaviours, attitudes and competencies in undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The project will develop students’ experiences in current entrepreneurial activities. It will expand the external partner base to enable partners to benefit from student input and ideas. Students will benefit from the experience of working with these partners and be able to make connections for future opportunities.

This project will scale up work that exchanges knowledge between students and NHS staff to improve patients’ experiences.

Students will be involved as co-creators in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects that combine applied theatre and technology. This will enable them to develop careers in arts and health through skills and experience directed towards improving wellbeing and will give them first-hand experience of working in a hospital context.

NHS staff will gain knowledge in applied theatre techniques, empathy training, skills and experience with technology.

The project aims to evaluate and disseminate a model of best practice for knowledge exchange in arts and health that will be transferable to the wider sector.

This project will create enhanced work placement opportunities with a range of existing and new cross-sector external organisations.

The placements will lead to a series of follow-on projects, which will enable the students to apply what they have learnt from their placement in a programme of ongoing activity and development.

The learning from these projects will be used to inform curriculum development and empower the students to engage creatively and proactively with so-called ‘left behind places’. This will help to address barriers to social and economic development and grow graduate opportunities and entrepreneurship in areas where there is currently an evidenced lack.

The project aims to demonstrate and evaluate effective practices in student engagement in knowledge exchange to assess their economic and social benefits to individual students, external partners and communities.

The project will enable more inclusive participation of diverse groups of students, developing and evaluating initiatives where students participate in knowledge exchange activities such as entrepreneurial and start-up training, working with voluntary sector organisations or undertaking placements in policy settings.

The activities include:

  • conducting collaborative research as part of dissertation work
  • developing business ideas and start-ups
  • contributing research skills to external partners to address an evaluation or impact challenge crucial to service delivery or organisational sustainability.

This project will develop and test a new model for postgraduate taught students that will benefit their learning and transition to employment, and the local and regional organisations they engage with.

The project will consist of the identification and root-cause analysis of a real-life organisational challenge, and the development of a solution grounded in the provider’s research strengths.

The project will enable students from a range of disciplines to deploy and enhance their employability-related research skills by undertaking multidisciplinary group research projects in partnership with external partners. Partners will benefit from scoping persistent challenges and seeking innovative solutions.

This project aims to substantially scale up existing knowledge exchange activities and create a sustainable framework of student-led knowledge exchange embedded in the curriculum.

Projects will place students at the heart of co-produced social science research with external partners and aim to address specific social and/or economic challenges. These will be followed by an evaluative element that will analyse and evidence the direct benefits of knowledge exchange activity on students, recent graduates and external organisations.

The project will contribute to the development of employability skills and beneficial networks for students who might not already have easy access to such networks.

This project will measure, evaluate and expand the reach of an established student enterprise programme by introducing a new ‘intrapreneurial path’. This opens up knowledge exchange opportunities for students who want to develop new enterprise and subject-specific applied skills within a company or organisation, rather than start one.

Students will attend training workshops and then compete in teams to deliver a short, client-led knowledge exchange project, providing a report of value to the external partner and creating new connections between the universities, their students and the local innovation ecosystem.

This project intends to scale up knowledge exchange activity in a format that removes barriers to participation from students from all backgrounds.

Student participants will be recruited in line with partner needs to provide insight from characteristics that might be underrepresented in the host organisations.

The project will develop a new series of short programmes, initially delivered by a new enterprise hub that houses entrepreneurial teaching, learning and practice, where students will work in teams to solve problems and find solutions to live briefs set by the partner organisation.

By completion, the project will produce and distribute an online toolkit and evaluation report.

This project aims to:

  • promote the benefits of employing graduate talent within a business
  • provide businesses with students to actively solve problems
  • ensure that opportunities for local employment of graduates are optimised.

Through facilitated innovation and mentoring, teams of students will develop and pitch solutions to business-related or complex global challenges set by external partner organisations. Winning teams will then be offered short internships or placements to implement ideas which may lead to future employment, possible partnerships or student start-up companies.

Outputs from the programme will be used to inform employer-led curriculum development.

This project aims to:

  • build on existing knowledge exchange activity involving students
  • consolidate, connect and expand initiatives
  • share good practice
  • provide new mechanisms to enhance students’ skills and abilities.

Activities will be evaluated to understand the benefits to students and organisations and to understand, evidence and address issues of equality of opportunity, diversity and inclusion both for students and partners.

The project will establish a new academy designed to prepare, train and equip students with the professional skills and behaviours required to deliver knowledge exchange effectively in a variety of settings, working with a range of partners to co-create training content, including an accessible e-learning package and face-to-face masterclasses.

This project aims to increase the number and diversity of students that are involved in knowledge exchange and to develop their enterprise skills and commercial awareness, as well as attributes such as leadership and teamwork.

The project will undertake a work package-based approach to evaluate the university’s current activity of student engagement in knowledge exchange from an educator, student and an external partner perspective.

From this thorough evaluation the project will determine the key components and models that deliver maximum value for knowledge exchange and begin active testing of those components and models through cohort-based test phases.

This project aims to explore the conditions which allow a student-led knowledge exchange culture to flourish in undergraduate teaching and learning and to develop a model for wider use.

It aims to enhance student reflection and learning through transformative, participant-led evaluation, to explore the drivers and barriers for knowledge exchange from the perspective of students, academics and partners.

The project will undertake a stakeholder analysis and pilot a train-the-trainers approach to explore and promote how knowledge exchange can be scaled up and rolled out across the sector.

This project will bring together students, research and regional voluntary, cultural and statutory organisations to deliver student team-based projects as a method for knowledge exchange.

The project will work collaboratively with partners to connect community needs with the provider’s research strengths in order to design projects which will help to build long term capacity for community groups to deliver their core activities.

Students from across all disciplines will work as teams and be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle the projects and facilitate knowledge exchange. Following evaluation, key elements of transferable good practice underlying this process will be identified and disseminated to the wider sector.

This project will evaluate the benefits and effectiveness of a partnership between two universities and the NHS. Through this partnership, local people who use mental health services will participate in free courses run by staff and students at each of the universities.

The project will identify:

  • the benefits for students and NHS staff of developing and running these courses in partnership
  • the benefits of students working directly with mental health service patients over an extended period
  • the benefits for mental health service patients participating in the courses.
Last updated 07 November 2023
07 November 2023
Added link to final evaluation report.
13 April 2022
Link added to interim reports on evaluation of knowledge exchange.
20 April 2020
Details of successful projects added
30 March 2020
Panel members added

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