PraxisAuril and ARMA have submitted a joint response to Research England's Knowledge Exchange Consultation; emphasising the role of KE professionals and the variation in support for KE activities across HEIs which can affect KE outputs. Both organisations provide training for KE and research management professionals and the KEF has sparked more conversations on how the two organisations can work together with members and sector stakeholders. One very positive impact of KEF discussions to date has been the coming together of different groups to understand the reach and remit of KE within different types of HEI and how it reaches across research and teaching activities at the local, regional and international level. This conversation is welcomed and should be maintained.
Both organisations have welcomed the KEF as a way of raising the profile of Knowledge Exchange activities across the spectrum from Public Engagement, to skills and entrepreneurship, to Research Commercialisation. The KEF should inform work to raise standards in KE, share good practice and develop new models for engagement. The response notes that although publication of data will increase visibility to sector commentators and specialists, visibility for the wider public comes in the shape of activity itself rather than through metrics and data so capturing the 'user voice' is vital. This voice is lacking in current discussions about the KEF but needs to bring out if the exercise is to meet both its stated aims and provide universities with information on how KE performance can be improved. Overall, it still feels that there is lack of clarity about who the KEF is for and how it can present complex interactions accurately to policymakers, university management, business audiences and other publics in a single tool. The response also advocates for more consideration of place as key foundation of the Industrial Strategy and an important frame for many universities considering KE audiences.
The KEF pilot - involving 21 organisations, almost all of which are PraxisAuril or ARMA members - is warmly welcomed. Sharing feedback from the pilot across the sector will be invaluable and important to ongoing conversations that have been triggered by the KEF.
The response can be downloaded here.