Launch of Student Engagement in Knowledge Exchange Competition

The Office for Students (OfS) and Research England (RE) are jointly funding a £10 million competition to explore the impact of student involvement in knowledge exchange (KE). Funding is available for project proposals that demonstrate how involvement in KE activities can benefit students.

While it is known that students benefit from KE, it is harder to identify the scale of their experience and contribution, and to quantify the benefits they receive. Work is also needed to discover how these benefits could be spread more widely across the higher education sector. A clearer concept of ‘what works’ in effective KE will help universities ensure they are delivering value for money for the benefit of students and taxpayers.

This call will support projects that:

Improve the student benefits or support more students to benefit.

Ensure effective practice is shared for the benefit of the whole sector.

Contribute to better understanding of effective practice and how this could shape future policy in this area.

Deliver value for money for RE and OfS.

Although the focus is on benefits to students and graduates, bids may include additional activities outlining the benefits to external partners that go alongside the student benefits. Bids that incorporate learning from KE practice outside the UK would be particularly welcomed.

The funders expect to fund a number of projects to explore the widest range of interventions and activities across the broadest portfolio possible, covering different types of providers, places, subjects, sectors, student groups, and KE activities. Outcomes of the projects will help be used to share good practice across the sector and improve future KE activities. This will help to optimise the use of the Higher Education Innovation Fund, improving value for money for public funds.

Individual projects may apply for between £250,000 and £1 million. The first batch of funding is expected to be released in April 2020, and projects must be completed by March 2022. There is no minimum duration for projects.

Funding can only be provided to higher education providers based in England that are eligible for both OfS and RE funding. Applicants must have a track record in KE activity, and bidders will need to make their case for this as part of their bid. Eligible higher education providers can be involved in a maximum of two bids but may only act as lead provider for one bid. Other organisations can be partners in proposals but may not lead.

OfS is holding an open forum for interested bidders to find out more information. This will take place on 22 October in London.

Applicants should download the Bid Template from the call webpage and submit it via email by the 13 December 2019 (17:00) deadline.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.