Universities UK (UUK) and GuildHE have released documents detailing how HEIs in England can sign-up to the eight KE Concordat principles and participate in the development year. The KE Concordat is a UK-wide initiative with different arrangements in different nations of the UK, however institutions from across the UK can participate in the development year.
The Concordat is a major development in knowledge exchange policy, focusing on institutional leadership and processes to bring KE firmly alongside teaching and research as a core university mission. It accompanies the KEF metrics but enables each university to define their KE activity and assess their performance against that mission. This recognises that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to knowledge exchange, that opportunities and activities are shaped by an institution’s research base, their industrial environment, their internal resources (budget, people) and often by their physical location.
Sean Fielding, Chair of PraxisAuril and a member of the Concordat Steering Group which developed the eight principles said:
"The UK is already one of the best countries in the world for turning good ideas from the knowledge base into new products and services and generating new concepts for policymakers. The Concordat should help the spread of good practice and lead to constant improvement."
The aim of the concordat is to give universities and their staff and students ‘clarity of mission’ and the tools to support the achievement of that mission: through self-assessment, training and sharing of good practice. Ultimately, this will give external stakeholders and government ‘broad confidence’ in the KE activity that takes place in and with universities every day.
PraxisAuril members have unique insight into the day-to-day practicalities of engagement between universities, research organisations and external research users of many kinds. They will be responsible for articulating the role and remit of KE in their own institutions and driving the implementation of the Concordat as defined by institutional leaders. PraxisAuril advocates strongly for diversity of KE missions and strategies, supporting a model of KE that allows institutions to play to their strengths and resources. This includes collaboration with other institutions - as in the Connected Capability fund projects - and exploring less familiar modes of KE as in the recently announced KE projects funded by the Office for Students.
PraxisAuril will be supporting members through the development year with ‘deep dives’ into each of the eight concordat principles. The aim will be to understand the particular challenges and opportunities of each area better and to highlight any particular training or engagement needs along the way. There will also be an opportunity to discuss evaluation tools; those already available and what we can help to develop. Further information on how these will be released shortly.
The Concordat has its roots in the McMillan review of Technology Transfer (2016) to which many PraxisAuril members contributed. The McMillan review emphasised the importance of leadership in KE PraxisAuril's Chair, Sean Fielding, was a member of the UUK & Research England KE Concordat Task and Finish Group. Phil Clare, Deputy Director, Research Services (Knowledge Exchange & Engagement), University of Oxford, and PraxisAuril Ambassador, will Chair the Concordat’s Evaluation Panel.
To find out more please visit the dedicated KEC portal www.keconcordat.ac.uk.