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In late 2017, Research Consulting conducted a UK-wide consultation of professionals working in knowledge exchange and commercialisation. The project was commissioned by PraxisAuril – a world-leading professional association for knowledge exchange practitioners.
The consultation consisted of an online survey sent to PraxisAuril newsletter recipients, based in either higher education institutions or other organisations and was open to members and non-members alike.
Knowledge exchange professionals are those who work at the interface between research-performing organisations, industry, government and not-for-profits, to help build collaborative relationships and translate research outcomes and education partnerships for economic and social impact.
The survey was comprised of open-text and multiple-choice questions. In total, we received 219 responses, of which 206 came from professionals in higher education institutions.
Among the many findings, we noted that knowledge exchange professionals tend to be highly motivated in their work, are generally adept at engaging audiences through events such as seminars, events and conferences, and tend to feel more valued by industry partners than their research-side partners. The survey discovered that there is an increasing focus of knowledge exchange professionals on relationship management, networking and partnership building.
We found that the background of such professionals is changing, with an increasing number of individuals having MBAs, and the proportion with PhDs dropping. Training is recognised as essential in the profession, with a number believing that in some areas, it is more important than formal qualifications.
Our final report details all these findings and sets out areas worthy of further investigation.