National Recognition for Knowledge Exchange at Arts University Plymouth
Arts University Plymouth’s work to support local growth and regeneration, research partnerships and graduate business startups has been recognised in Research England’s publication of its latest Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), KEF3. The results of KEF3 are designed to show the rich and diverse ways English universities engage with society and our economy, locally, nationally, and internationally.
International glass symposium Melting Pot, hosted by Arts University Plymouth
With the KEF now in its third iteration, Arts University Plymouth has shown consistent growth and progress in each round. The arts university scores particularly highly for its contributions to local growth and regeneration in Plymouth and the south west. The KEF3 assessed and scored Arts University Plymouth based on the university’s role in Knowledge Exchange projects that saw expert staff sharing skills and knowledge in a way that benefits society and the economy, forming lasting and sustainable partnerships. This included a number of projects supported by Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Funding for Smaller Providers.
Looking back at Melting Pot: Hot Glass Gathering
Projects included in the university’s KEF3 assessment included: international glass symposium Melting Pot; Another Crossing, developed in collaboration with The Box and the Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts, USA; Green Minds, with partners including Plymouth City Council, National Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, Real Ideas, The Data Place and University of Plymouth; BFI Film Academy Plymouth; Crafting Futures, comprising research with the British Council into craft and the development of new craft education initiatives in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan; and the Environmental Futures and Big Data Impact Lab, with partners including the Met Office, University of Exeter, Exeter City Futures, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Plymouth and Rothamsted Research.
Another Crossing at The Box
Ian Hutchinson said: “Our expert academics, technical staff and students have a wide range of specialist knowledge and skills that can help to transform the businesses, charities and communities who we engage with, driving sustainability and innovation, as well as ensuring that our research is shared with organisations that can help to put it into practice. We are proud of the impact that Arts University Plymouth’s knowledge exchange, research and partnerships have on our city and region.”
Arts University Plymouth students work on the catalogue for Another Crossing
Publication of KEF3 comes soon after the release of UK Higher Education representative body GuildHE’s ‘Expertise in Action’ report about the real world impact of knowledge exchange funding at smaller and specialist institutions. The report evidences the ways that specialist universities such as Arts University Plymouth are often ineligible to receive knowledge exchange funding due to their small size, but that “smaller and specialist institutions are critical for economic growth”, stating that “These institutions ‘punch above their weight’ when engaging with businesses and communities relative to their size.”
BFI Film Academy Plymouth
GuildHE used two examples of effective Knowledge Exchange projects at Arts University Plymouth to demonstrate the impact of knowledge exchange funding at the university. These comprised a collaboration between BA (Hons) Textile Design academics and pioneering clothing manufacturer Finisterre to support dye mapping within their supply chain, as well as the launch of a sustainable dye garden with National Trust Saltram and Poole Farm. The dye garden has proven to be so successful that a series of public natural dye workshops are planned in The Box, Plymouth, on 4 November and 18 November.
The KEF demonstrates the range of valuable activities universities conduct with external partners across seven perspectives. These perspectives include working with partners ranging from big businesses to small local firms, local growth, public and community engagement and how Higher Education commercialises research. It also demonstrates the diversity of universities that deliver important activities for our economy and society.
Of the Ground Dye Garden at Poole Farm
Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Executive Chair of Research England, said: “Across the breadth of higher education, institutions make rich and diverse contributions to the economy and society through their knowledge exchange activities.
“Research England is delighted to announce today the publication of the latest version of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF3). The KEF continues to be a powerful tool to describe the breadth of scope of knowledge exchange. It also provides important evidence of different university strengths through peer group comparisons. KEF is now in its third year and the method has been rigorously tested and begins to give us a picture of changes in performance over time. Research England’s knowledge exchange experts have presented some findings from KEF3 on comparative trends in the important government priority area of business engagement, as a taster of how it may be used as an analytical tool on sector performance dynamics. I look forward to discussion on how we can use the KEF further as we gather data over multiple years.”