PraxisAuril's annual conference confirms ‘KE is a people business’

This was PraxisAuril’s first face-to-face conference since 2019 (Harrogate) and marked a welcome return to in-person events. Over 450 delegates attended the three day event to learn, discuss but – above all – to connect and reconnect with their community. Speakers came from a range of backgrounds and delivered a highly varied and dynamic programme in plenary and smaller sessions, complimented by conference exhibitors who demonstrated KE innovations (notably ‘KEVRI’ launching their KE data collection platform) and services (consultancy, IP search, and innovation management).

Tuesday’s opening plenary session addressed Equality, Diversity & Inclusion in KE – a priority for PraxisAuril as it launches its next 5-year strategy and which is vital for the future KE workforce and to KE partners across the research base, connectors, and collaborators.

Plenary two was led by the NCUB, drawing on their research into the health of university-business relationships and addressing themes including SME engagement, barriers to collaboration (often assumed to be IP but more commonly lack of staff time to engage on the business side) and identifying university research partners.

The closing session invited a range of organisations to consider future challenges and opportunities for knowledge exchange. Speakers from Ploughshare, KTN-Creative industries and University of Brighton spoke passionately about the urgent need for more ‘pull-through’ of research and collaboration to tackle known issues, such as climate change and global health, and future opportunities – notably in the creative industries and circular economy. This panel also addressed the need for greater diversity across the research and innovation sector, and greater public understanding – and appreciation – of the R&I ecosystem to support Government investment.

Alongside the speaker programme, PraxisAuril ensured that there was plenty of time for delegates to reconnect and make new contacts. As the first PraxisAuril conference for over 50% of delegates, the social element of the programme was important to get right, and with PraxisAuril celebrating their 20th anniversary there was no better excuse for a party! The conference dinner celebrated KE talent across the generations and also marked the achievement of CEO, Maxine Ficarra who has led the company since 2002. Speaking afterwards, Maxine said:

“It’s fantastic to see the KE community come together in this way and I am so excited for the next decade and highly confident that PraxisAuril members can deliver on the very high expectations for UK knowledge exchange. I’d like to thank the Conference Committee for putting together such a great programme and the PrA team for delivering such a high quality event.”

PraxisAuril’s 2023 conference will be held in Nottingham from 7-9th June. For all enquiries, please contact

Recordings of each of the plenary sessions will be uploaded to the PraxisAuril YouTube channel for public viewing.