Students play a significant role in the knowledge exchange that drives civic and economic prosperity. As well as establishing start-ups and spin-off companies, they solve problems and provide skills and expertise for businesses, public services and community groups through consultancy, internships and work placements.
Last month we held the kick-off meeting of the Knowledge Exchange Best Practice Group (KE BPG). It was a positive and insightful meeting, with representatives from a variety of organisations operating in the higher education sector in attendance.
Amongst the global Knowledge Transfer community, there is increasing discussion about what our profession is actually all about. The European Knowledge Exchange Association (ASTP) held its annual conference in Dublin this week and there was a real interest from across the Continent in redefining our profession so that we can explain the importance of our role to funders and stakeholders. PraxisAuril will be playing a leading role in this and helping to shape the global standing of what we do.
When you consider the theories about how professions emerge, there is one angle which I believe to be curiously underdeveloped, this is the role of imagery and visions in confirming the existence of a profession. A profession and its associated specialist knowledge, skills and practices have to be recognised by those outside the immediate community, or how else will the expertise that exists amongst the members be recognised?
This is, in many ways, great news for us in Knowledge Exchange, at the coalface of our university’s relationship with the outside world. The definition of impactful activities and reach should be “deepened and broadened”, which means that the roles of those tasked with developing impact should also be. It is, for some at least, disproportionate in terms of our university’s lack of development of knowledge exchange and impact staff.