Blog

KEF – A Step Forward or a Missed Opportunity?

20 Jan 2020

 

Do the metrics proposed in the new Knowledge Exchange Framework represent a reliable way to measure university innovation, or will they lead universities up the wrong path? OUI’s Chief Operating Officer Adam Stoten discusses.

The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) has finally arrived, or at least Research England has just published a report confirming the metrics to be used in the inaugural 2020 exercise, following a consultation process and pilot run in which Oxford participated. This represents a significant watershed event in terms of putting a spotlight on Higher Education Institution (HEI) Knowledge Exchange (KE) as a driver of value creation regionally, nationally and internationally. While there is much to celebrate about the fact that government recognises that this area is important and worthy of investment, some significant problems remain with the KEF metrics proposed.

Opportunity for Funding to Support Researchers Planning Future Spin-Outs in the area of Healthy Ageing

6 Dec 2019

 

UK SPINE is a knowledge exchange initiative supported by Research England’s Connecting Capabilities Fund seeking to improve health in old age.

There is a fund to support translational proof of concept activities for which all English HEIs are able to apply.

The University of Oxford has been challenged by its steering board to use these funds to help accelerate the formation of spin-out companies. They are therefore seeking to identify researchers who are considering spinning-out their research, but who could benefit from some additional research funding to accelerate the process. For example, this could be used to gather extra data or provide proof of concept in a laboratory setting.

Turning introductions into successful university-industry partnerships

6 Dec 2019

 

Around the world, governments and funding bodies are upping the pressure on universities to increase their commercialisation efforts. Whether it’s to generate a return on investment for public funding, or to secure new funding streams for research, universities are expected now more than ever to work with industry to license intellectual property (IP), launch spin-outs, and establish long-term strategic partnerships and knowledge exchange programs. Regardless of what sort of agreement is on the table, the negotiations between academia and industry can be long and complicated, and it often falls to the technology transfer office (TTO) at the university to handle these conversations.

Reflections on the second meeting of the KE Best Practice Group

22 Nov 2019

 

Kala Kennedy, Knowledge Exchange Facilitator at Cranfield University, reflects on the second meeting of the KE Best Practice Group (KE BPG). The KE BPG was set up to provide support for KE professionals to discuss roles and responsibilities and exchange advice on some of the issues encountered day-to-day.

On the 5th November, we held the second meeting of the Knowledge Exchange Best Practice Group (KE BPG). It is fantastic that, in some cases, there were new faces from universities represented at the first meeting; it is great that information about the KE BPG is being shared by members with colleagues at their own institutions, and expanding the Group’s network. There were also colleagues from operational and strategic levels, which allowed for the Group to hear and understand the view points and experiences of those in roles across the spectrum.

One digital access point to the wealth of knowledge within UK academia

21 Nov 2019

 

Making connections 

PraxisAuril and the National Centre for Universities and Business, (NCUB) have a lot in common in both supporting the UK’s big ambitions for R&D investment and knowing that partnerships between UK universities and business are key to addressing the challenges facing society and industry today. 

The UK has many successful academic industrial partnerships to celebrate and PraxisAuril members are clearly leaders in good practice in this. But if we want to raise the UK’s R&D investment to the OECD average then we need to do more. Successes should be celebrated and news of the great work that is happening across the UK should be more widely shared to inspire growth in the relatively small number of companies making up the lion’s share of R&D spend in the UK.  Only around 12% of firms that are ‘innovating’ currently cooperate with a university, and we are all working hard to grow this proportion to supercharge innovation throughout the UK. 

Technology Transfer marketing – is it a waste of time?

8 Nov 2019

Like many other research-intensive universities, Oxford yields hundreds of new inventions every year. This provides the substrate for one of the key aspects of our activity at OUI – the management and commercialisation of IP arising from research. While we don’t take forward every new idea that crosses our threshold – and there are various reasons why we might decide that a project is not supportable – we proceed each year to file in excess of 100 new patent applications, and support plenty of non-patentable IP such as copyright in software source code and health outcomes questionnaires.

HE-BCI headlines: what does the data tell us?

7 Nov 2019

 

Earlier this year I reflected on the 2017-18 HE-BCI data published by HESA; mentioning the step forward in terms of its presentation as an Open Data set and the bonus FAQs for the more straightforward queries. But I also pointed out how the data can reveal the unexpected and how it is hard to understand the real dynamics, or stories, behind the data sets. In particular, I noted that although the data provides an important snapshot of university knowledge exchange (KE), it’s increasingly recognised that data for KE needs to be more diverse in order to provide a better understanding of KE dynamics within research organisations and with their collaborators. So, as many of our members consider how to respond to the current HESA consultation on the HEBCI data, we thought we would republish the article (see below). You can find similar thoughts in the SpinoutsUK Quarterly Journal June 2019 by OUI's Adam Stotten, who delves into the 'HEBCI fruit basket'. 

The HESA consultation closes on Wednesday 11th December, full details available on the website.  

Communicating research to industry: How to write a great project summary

31 Oct 2019

In recent years many companies have expanded their open innovation initiatives, with universities capturing the spotlight as an invaluable source of new technologies and game-changing breakthroughs. However, as part of a global web of science and innovation, it can be difficult for academics to get their research in front of the right people in industry. Attracting interest from relevant research and development (R&D) professionals, who often have limited time to evaluate each academic discovery that lands on their desk, is a challenge. Effectively communicating science to industry is crucial to the successful commercialisation of university research.

Engaging students in knowledge exchange: 10 million what works competition

28 Oct 2019

 

Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore announced a £10 million competition to help boost the benefits to students of getting involved in knowledge exchange activities.

The joint call, by the Office for Students (OfS) and Research England, will support a range of projects exploring how students benefit from involvement in knowledge exchange – the work universities do to share their knowledge and skills outside of the academic community for the benefit of society and the economy.

University knowledge exchange is a success story. It covers a range of activity: partnerships with businesses, engagement with communities and third sector organisations, and professional training. In 2017-18, English universities generated over £3.7 billion from knowledge exchange activity. As part of this, they helped to create over 3,500 graduate start-up businesses, attracting over £146 million of investment.

RTTP interviews: Anji Miller from LifeArc and the 2019 LifeArc-AUTM Technology Transfer fellows

15 Oct 2019

 

This Autumn, we caught up again with Dr Anji Miller CLP RTTP, Senior Business Manager at LifeArc, as she introduced to us the all-female 2019 LifeArc-AUTM Technology Transfer fellows. Seven very inspiring women who are making the move from the lab to Technology Transfer.

Reflecting competency and experience in Knowledge Exchange/Technology Transfer with the RTTP accreditation. We interviewed Dr Anji Miller CLP RTTP, Senior Business Manager at LifeArc, about her route to RTTP, how Candidate RTTP can help early-career KE practitioners plan their professional development, and tips and suggestions on how to successfully apply.