Knowledge exchange is an odd turn of phrase, to most people. Before I started at Interface in 2015, I hadn’t heard of it and asked a friend who worked for a university what it meant.
Put simply, my friend explained that it’s the sharing of knowledge, ideas and expertise between universities and organisations; it’s an exchange between the two as the knowledge flows both ways, academics learning from industry/businesses and vice versa.
Whilst Interface, our academic partners, businesses and organisations shout about the incredible work taking place across the country and beyond, it’s still a bit of a niche subject, and even more people could hear about the benefit from the impacts of this kind of partnership working, and what it means for them. The partners are on a journey to solve some of our biggest challenges, from global warming to poverty.
That is why Interface stages the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards annually, to find the most innovative and successful partnerships between business, third sector and public sector organisations and academia that are happening across Scotland to recognise, reward and celebrate the impacts achieved.
So, what is the value of entering – and potentially winning – one of the celebrated gongs?
For businesses/organisations the many benefits include independent endorsement of business and products, increased brand recognition, a chance to showcase innovative partnerships and processes, increased media coverage, expansion of professional networks and the opportunity to meet with and learn from other project partners.
For academics, the benefits include independent endorsement of research impacts, peer recognition for students, lecturers, academics, departments and institutions, development of transferable skills and increased employability for students, as well as those outlined above.
Dr Marco Gilardi, from the University of the West of Scotland, won the Knowledge Exchange Heroes award in 2022 for his research into software and design tools for interactive graphics and extended realities. He has collaborated with, among others, Paisley start-up, The VR Hive, and the Scottish Crannog Centre in Tayside.
He said: “The main benefit is taking impact into the community, taking all the work that we do in terms of research, innovation and education, back into the community.”
Universities pride themselves on being part of communities, from being major employers, to partnering locally and globally to push ahead jaw-dropping advancements which make life a little, or a lot, better.
There are eight categories in this year’s awards, and the deadline is 9th December, 2022, with the Awards ceremony on 23 March. We recommend that applications are filled in by both academic & organisation to ensure all inputs and outcomes are clearly defined for our judges (Innovation of the Year is the only category where projects are nominated via Interface). So, the question is, what are you waiting for?
Everything you need to know, and application forms are here.