The centrality of intersectoral collaboration in the definition of what constitutes excellence in academic research has grown in relevance in the past decade, with Research Councils strongly advocating the role of humanities research in maximising “public benefit”, by “enabling cultural participation, addressing contemporary social challenges and creating economic value” (AHRC 2019 Delivery Plan, p. 5).
Knowledge Exchange (KE) between arts and humanities research and non-University sectors – from the creative industries and the heritage sector to the third sector, health services and government agencies – therefore plays an integral part of what it means to do world-leading research today and as such is central in our doctoral training programme.
Engaging with external partners is a great opportunity for a researcher to broaden the scope and possibilities of their PhD, since it opens the door to developing new contacts in the field, bringing new insights into their research work, building and strengthening professional reputation and opening further opportunities in terms of new research projects and collaborations.
Regardless of the career paths you will take, in academia or industry (or both), engaging with non-University partners during your PhD provides you with highly transferable skills and work experience which will support the development of the unique contribution to the cultural, social and economic life of the wider community, that you can make thanks to your research skills and expertise.
Knowledge Exchange Activities
Knowledge exchange includes a wide variety of activities with the common trait of engaging with non-University partners in the public, private or third sectors, in a way that shows the relevance of research to these external audiences. KE activities can be classified into four broad groups:
- Community-based: e.g. lectures for the community; school projects; social enterprise activity; performing arts and related cultural activities; museums and art galleries; heritage and tourism activities; public exhibitions; and community-based sports.
- Commercial: patenting, licensing, spin outs and business consultancy.
- People-based: e.g. creating and participating in networks; lectures for the community; sitting on advisory boards; employee training; standard-setting forums; curriculum development; and enterprise education.
- Problem-solving: e.g. joint research and/or publications with external organisations; consultancy services; contract research; secondment to external organisations; prototyping and testing; setting up new physical facilities.
The NWCDTP provides you with a range of opportunities to develop awareness about the KE potential of your research, that is to identify how your research can be relevant to contexts and communities beyond academia, and to develop these ideas in the most relevant directions for your own research interests, aspirations and careers goals.