Theme Descriptions

PraxisAuril Conference Committee theme leads:
Yvonne Kinnaird, Frank Allison, Stuart Duncan

Theme Description:

Partnerships underpin a wide variety of KE activity. This theme will look to highlight and explore innovative examples of partnerships involving organisations such as universities, government and industry.

Sessions will enable delegates to discuss current developments and good practice, and to explore the roles of KE professionals in partnerships. We aim to identify common themes emerging from HEIs in the local, national and international context, and maximise cooperation between PraxisAuril members. Proposals should seek to address topics such as sources of funding, the role of the KE professional and future developments for partnerships. We would encourage submissions from international colleagues to highlight examples from geographies outside the UK.

The session format is flexible and may involve several presentations or a panel Q&A. We will review the responses received to this call and consider how best to bring the sessions together.

Session 1: University - Industry Partnerships

Session Description:

University-industry partnerships encompass a broad range of knowledge exchange activity from small partnerships and consultancy with SMEs, to large research and KE partnerships with industry and other actors.

The funding, duration, support and stages of partnerships (just starting out or long established) are of interest in this theme but additionally what are the unique features which make the partnerships work and is there a model which underpins this activity in universities. Trust, leadership, governance and management in university-industry relations plays a large part in the development of the partnership and can often fall into the domain of the KE Professional.

Call for proposals: We are seeking varied inputs to this session in the form of case study examples short talks, and contributions to describe university industry partnerships.

These might cover, but will not be limited to:

  • Case studies and models demonstrating features of university-industry partnerships and the role of the KE Professional in its success.
  • Some input from the academic literature in this area, and learning from research.
  • Unique features of university-industry partnerships which aid success, including funding.

Session 2: How to create and develop partnerships

Session description:

Creating and developing a university / industry partnership is a complex process which requires many stakeholders to be engaged and aligned in their thinking. The role of the KE professional in this process is varied but fundamental to university / industrial partnerships.

Call for proposals: We are seeking varied inputs to this session in the form of case study examples short talks, and contributions to describe university / industry partnerships.

These might cover, but will not be limited to:

  • Approaches taken by KE professionals when considering a university / industrial partnership
  • Insight into how university / industry partnerships are identified
  • The role of the KE professional, and that of their academic colleagues, when seeking university senior management support for a partnership
  • The role of the industrial stakeholders in the process of supporting the KE professional pre-partnership
  • Case studies focused on how to develop a university / industrial partnership once it has been established
  • Lessons learned when a partnership hasn’t progressed as expected

Session 3: Managing multi-partner collaborations

Session Description:

Multi-party collaborations are on the rise, as academia, governments, public sector and industry are increasingly aware that complex societal issues often require cross-sector and inter-disciplinary solutions. This session seeks to cover the benefits, impacts and potential pitfalls of these type of collaborations, how they are funded, and the current and future role of KE practitioners within this sphere.

Call for proposals: We are seeking varied inputs to this session in the form of case study examples short talks, and contributions to describe university-industry-government partnerships.

These might cover, but will not be limited to:

  • Case studies demonstrating features of university-industry-government/public sector partnerships and the role of the KE Professional
  • Some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of multi-party partnership relationship management and brokerage
  • Funding models (e.g. H2020, UKRI, international partnerships outwith Europe etc.)

Session 4: Learning from Partnerships – the good, the bad and the ugly

Session Description:

This session will aim to have a series of case studies, which demonstrate the success, failure, or key learnings from partnership opportunities, and may answer some of the following questions:

  • What were the key success criteria?
  • Why did the project / partnership not work?
  • What would you do differently next time – and advise others to do in future?
  • Would you work with the same partners / funding partners in future?

Call for proposals: We are seeking varied inputs to this session in the form of case studies.

These might cover, but will not be limited to:

  • Description of the role of the KE Professional in its success;
  • What funding supported this partnership, and did this influence or guide the outcomes;
  • Any international aspect to these case studies if appropriate (and did this influence the success or otherwise).

PraxisAuril Conference Committee theme leads:
Sue Baxter, Amanda Selvaratnam, Britta C Wyatt, Chris Hewson

Theme Description:

Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation (KEC) is a people-based job. From developing relationships with academics and industry, to engaging with end users and customer – how do we ensure we have the right skills, competencies, and systems in place to successfully deliver impact from innovation? Furthermore, with KEF changing how we measure success, and new technologies impacting the way we work, how can we adapt -- and learn from each other -- in a changing innovation landscape?

We welcome session proposals exploring the following topics, as well as suggestions for broader issues associated with people and skills. We would encourage submissions from international colleagues to highlight developing practice from geographies outside the UK.

Session 1: The Automated KE Professional

Session Description:

New technologies and platforms have the potential to change the way we work, making us more efficient and allowing KEC professionals to concentrate on activities where we can add real value. This session will look at the impact of new technologies (tools and platforms) on the work of KE practitioners and address the soft and hard skills that may be needed by KEC practitioners in the future.

Call for Proposals: We are seeking short talks/ panellists who can contribute to a discussion on this topic, for example:

  • Examples or case studies of using different tools and platforms for doing KE (by universities, or external parties), the impact and considerations for how audiences might apply this in their own organisation.
  • Examples of how companies or investors currently use technology to identify new opportunities, and perspectives on how they/you think this might be changing in the future
  • Other insights, research or views on emerging tools/ trends that are likely to impact our profession.
  • Ideas as to where the KE professionals of the future will add value – what skills will be needed and what can be “outsourced” to technology
  • Some ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of relationship management and brokerage.

Panellists should be the end users of the innovations (vs companies selling products), but we welcome different perspectives, both University KE/TT professionals, as well as suggestions for partners you work with that you would be willing to invite to speak (i.e., external IP or contracts professionals, companies, or investors).

Session 2: Building Academic Capacity for KEC

Session Description:

Our capacity to do all that is needed in this area of KE is limited by the size of our teams and the hours in the day. The more we can interest and upskill academics, the more this can help use in our roles. We can’t do everything – how can we help them, help us?

Call for Proposals: We are seeking proposals for short talks about the ways you are supporting and building capacity amongst academics. What has been the impact (or challenges) of your activity or programme? Why might this be a useful model for others to follow, or what other lessons can be learned? For example, proposals might include:

  • Initiatives to support your academics: How are you helping them to gain specific capabilities or skills?
  • Campaigns: Marketing or communications activities – how are you increasing engagement?
  • Courses or Training: have you developed any short courses or training programmes to stimulate awareness and self-direction in KEC?
  • Incentives: Have you set up any financial / or non-financial mechanisms to promote academic engagement in KEC?
  • Delivering GCRF or other impact overseas: What cross cultural skills do academics need to engage in global KEC?

We will also consider proposals for longer workshops around a specific example. Workshops must be able to cater to an audience of up to 100 people.

Session 3: Insights on KE office structures and remits

Session Description:

KEC teams can be structured in many different ways – sometimes the KEC office runs all aspects of KE – from IP to partnerships to research contracts – and sometimes these functions are devolved across the university. With the KEF coming in and the new cluster approach, KE professionals may find their priorities and remits are changing. This session will allow us to compare and understand different models, good practice, challenges, insights, and considerations across different KEF clusters, and learn how institutions are implementing the KEF concordant in differing contexts.

Call for Proposals: This session is envisaged to begin with a short introduction on the typography and development of KEF Clusters. This will then be followed by a series of short talks and we are seeking proposals from a range of speakers from different KEF clusters, including, but not limited to:

  • Insights from people running big units vs small offices vs specialist institutions – how have you structured your team in a certain way to address specific challenges or priorities?
  • Managing devolved KEC functions - how have you established good working practices to integrate across the different teams (or not?)
  • Insights from small KE offices who did well in the previous REF – what structures and approaches worked well?
  • Insights from different KEF clusters – how are you implementing the KEF concordat?

Session 4: Diversity in Knowledge Exchange

Session Description:

Embracing diversity can have a transformational effect on teams, not just on how productive they are but also on their ability to innovate. This session will seek to explore the positive impact diversity can have on KE activity both within KE offices and in the KE activities we help facilitate, to provide participants with inspiration and ideas on how to achieve and benefit from diverse and inclusive practice.

Call for Proposals: We are seeking proposals for short talks on diversity related activity you have undertaken. Proposals might include:

  • Initiatives undertaken to recruit under-represented groups into the KE practitioner community
  • The importance of recognising cultural differences in undertaking KE activities
  • Methods of embracing neurodiversity within KE teams.
  • Evidence from academic colleagues of the positive role diversity can have in KE activities such as spinouts.

PraxisAuril Conference Committee theme leads:
Timothy Brundle, Rebecca Edwards, Alicen Nickson, Rhian North

Theme Description:

Place is a core component of successful innovation ecosystems. The context of place (including the political context, business environment, physical geographies and location) can either support or inhibit innovation. The scale of the impact of ‘place’ can range from the local to the international, and is made up of a wide community of different actors and collaborations, funding mechanisms, political priorities and policies. However, in the current UK context, the prioritisation of Higher Education Institution (HEIs) as drivers of productivity and socio-economic development – particularly within the regions in which they are embedded - is resulting in a range of new challenges and opportunities for HEIs and Knowledge Exchange (KE) professionals.

This theme seeks to explore the barriers and enablers to innovation within the context of place: what can work; the opportunities we have to do something new and different with place; how we better engage our academic communities in the region in which they are based; how we can thread some of our international collaborations, research and innovation back into the more local place.

The session format is flexible and may involve several presentations or a panel Q&A. We will review the responses received to this call and consider how best to bring the sessions together. We would encourage submissions from international colleagues to highlight developing practice from geographies outside the UK.

Session 1: What’s our role in Regional Innovation

Session Description:

What role should Universities and KE professionals have in regional innovation. Increasingly government policy and funding is encouraging Universities to play a much more active part. Is this a good thing and can this co-exist with the push for international research significance?

Call for proposals: We are looking to debate the motion that “universities should focus on developing the innovation ecosystem in the region which they are based.'' Views from both sides are encouraged in the form of short talks or provocations. We will be posing questions to the audience and using digital voting to gauge the views of delegates.

Session 2: What works in Regional Innovation?

Session Descritption:

What works – what can we learn from KE professionals already working successfully within their regional ‘place’. What practices best enable place-based innovation ecosystems, how can we maximise funding opportunities and build vibrant local actor innovation collaborations? What are the barriers and how can we overcome them?

Call for proposals: We are seeking varied inputs to this session in the form of case studies with the desire to highlight and promote good practice.

Session 3: Engaging the academic in the region

Session Description:

From the academic perspective, what are the ingredients for successful regional innovation? What are the motivations for engaging in regional KE collaborations and how can KE professionals best enable this activity? What are the barriers and how can we overcome them?

Call for proposals: We are seeking case study examples which demonstrate how academics have been successfully engaged in projects which have delivered tangible benefits for the regional economy and the academic involved. We are especially keen to hear directly from the academics and/or industry partners involved in the case studies.

Session 4: Crossing national divides

Session Description:

What is the role of international place in successful innovation ecosystems? How can we work across borders to drive innovation and socio-economic development? What international best practice can we use to support KE in the UK?

Call for proposals: We are looking for candid insights into how KE professionals have developed and utilised international links. We plan to use a fire-side chat format and are inviting colleagues to tell their stories - including the good, the bad and the ugly - of international knowledge exchange.

PraxisAuril Conference Committee theme leads:
Alasdair Cameron, Adele Roberts-Hunt, Alison Hardy

Theme Description:

KE activity in the UK is the envy of the world. In every ranking or league table UK institutions are chasing the top spots. This is your chance to tell the KE community about your successes and the innovative practices that helped you achieve them.

Sessions will seek to celebrate the wide variety of activities that KE practitioners are involved in, wherever they occur, and share best practice. We would also welcome submissions from international colleagues to highlight best practice in geographies outside the UK.

The session format is flexible and may involve several presentations or a panel Q&A. We will review the responses received to this call and consider how best to bring the sessions together.

Session 1: KE Award winners, where are they now

Session Description:

Every year we recognise the very best activity through our on KE Awards. There are also a number of other regional, national and international awards that celebrate excellence in KE.

Call for Proposals: We are seeking to hear from you if you’ve won or been shortlisted for a KE awards in the last few years. We are looking for you to share how things have developed and any lessons you have learned. We also be interested to learn whether your award success helped open any doors.

Session 2: It’s all ’bout the money, money, money!

Session description:

SHOW ME THE MONEY! There has always been a disproportionate focus on licencing/income generation in many KE metrics and in some government circles. All the recent reviews have stressed the need for a long-term approach and highlighted the negative impact a focus on short-term financial gains can have. As part of HEBCIS, KE income is however, a metric that many offices find themselves measured on.

Call for proposals: We are seeking varied inputs to this session in the form of short talks on strategies to develop and increase revenue from KE.

These might cover, but are not limited to:

  • Strategies for leveraging value from IP (licensing opportunities/successes/failures)
  • Approaches to consultancy
  • Contract research activities
  • The role of short courses and executive programmes
  • Equipment access and up-selling other KE activities

Session 3: Spinouts

Session Description:

A simplistic measure of how entrepreneurial a university is would be based on their level of success in creating spin-outs and a route for the commercialisation of research ideas. Some fail quickly, some are snapped up by other companies and a few go on to transform whole industry sectors.

Call for proposals: We are seeking inputs to this session in the form of case study examples relating to spin-out activity within your institution.

These might cover, but will not be limited to:

  • Strategies to encourage spin-out activity and the support structures you provide
  • The role spinouts can have in a Universities KE strategy.
  • A social enterprise model for spinouts
  • Appropriate measures and metrics to determine success in spin-outs
  • Strategies for helping spin-out access finance and developing relationships with investors

Session 4: Marketing KE

Session Description:

Many businesses fail to recognise the value a relationship with a university could bring beyond the availability of graduate talent. What are institutions doing to highlight this opportunity to businesses and other organisations. Every University will say they have a single door for business but is that enough?

Call for proposals: We are seeking varied inputs to this session in the form of case studies to highlight successful marketing strategies for KE.

These might cover, but will not be limited to:

  • Strategies for engaging the media to highlight KE activities
  • How social media has been used to generate KE activity
  • Campaigns undertaken to promote KE activity with your University.
  • What does a successful KE marketing strategy look like and how is it best measured.
  • Marketing on a global scale – telling the world.