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How Knowledge Exchange can benefit both industry and academia

2 December 2014

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How Knowledge Exchange can benefit both industry and academia

Universities are working with businesses to shape research questions that can benefit both academia and industry.

This collaborative approach, called Knowledge Exchange (KE), is one that is being championed by both the University of Exeter and the Research Councils. The aim of knowledge exchange is for industry, academia and government to share their knowledge and expertise to develop scientific ideas which tackle the concerns of those people who will use the research.

Dr Steve Simpson, a KE fellow for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), spoke to us about the value of sharing his research knowledge. He said: “It’s hugely satisfying to see that people outside of the research community are following our research and applying it to their work. Talking to, and working with industry gives us great new ideas about what we could be researching.”

Dr Simpson’s Knowledge Exchange approach brings together researchers, businesses and government representatives to discuss the challenges faced by both academia and industry. His recent research on how marine environments are affected by man-made noise was helped by a KE exercise with industry leaders Marine Scotland and HR Wallingford and other interested parties. KE workshops give academics the chance to make sure the questions they are asking are relevant to the concerns of industry as well as to formulate the next steps that research needs to take to provide the evidence needed.

Since becoming a Knowledge Exchange fellow for NERC Dr Simpson has developed three crucial elements of Knowledge Exchange: developing stronger links with industry to help fisheries to adapt to climate change, assessing the impact of man-made noise on marine ecosystems, and working with Global Change and Sustainable Development researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Exeter to help academics develop knowledge exchange within their research programmes.

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