Creating successful Knowledge Exchange (KE) projects

Answer these core questions and then take a look at the further help and advice below. You can also book a 1:1 meeting with Our Team for help and advice.

How can I identify my “offer”?

  • What is your area of expertise?
  • How do you know whether this is of interest to businesses and employers?
  • Are competitors engaged in this activity?
  • Are there specific business sectors which will be interested and why?

How do I know what the market wants?

  • Is there a specific approach that is more likely to be of interest?
  • Do opportunities mainly arise through tenders?
  • Is there the potential to gain work through building relationships with key external players?

How can you gain University support for your project?

  • Does your offer fit with your strategic faculty/directorate KE plan, and will it be supported?
  • How will you – and the University - resource any activity?
  • What approval process will be needed and within what timescales?

How can you deliver a successful project?

  • Do you have a robust delivery plan which considers the main delivery risks and identifies project milestones?
  • Have you developed a good working relationship with your client, with a clear and shared understanding of expectations including for when things go wrong?
  • Are you confident about how you will identify and monitor project costs?

How can you build on your success?

  • How will you evidence and demonstrate your success with a project?
  • Does the project provide opportunities for marketing your offer and the University more widely?
  • Can you use the project to raise your individual profile and academic standing?
  • Do you know whether your client would be interested in further collaboration, or whether other organisations/businesses may be interested in something similar?

Developing Your KE Projects: some advice

Identify and shape your offer

  • Spend time considering what your offer is, remembering it will need to draw on your expertise but also be of interest to the market. Talk to Our Team for advice on how to develop your thinking.
  • Consider whether there are any Intellectual Property issues you need to address, before you go public with your ideas.
  • Who are your competitors in this field, and what makes your offer of more interest?
  • Who are your potential internal and external collaborators? Often working with others will bring additional expertise and experience which will strengthen your offer.
  • Think about the language you use. Is it the language of the business or community you want to engage with? Will clients and collaborators relate to it?

Understand what the market wants

  • Understand how opportunities can be identified. Is the main source through formal tenders, or is it more likely to be through building relationships with potential clients and taking ideas forward in collaboration?
  • Be aware of the level of responsiveness the market will expect, and the timescales for delivery. These can often be with short deadlines and rapid delivery and you need to check the clients’ expectations and ensure the whole team is primed to respond.
  • What price will the market pay for your offer? Generally different sectors (typically public or private) or different types of organisations (for example social enterprise, charities, SMEs) are willing or able to pay different amounts. It may be necessary to make the argument internally for different/lower levels of return particularly where it is a new project area.
  • Are there other sources of funding for your activity that you could tap into?

Build faculty commitment

  • Do spend some time checking with faculty/directorate management that they will support your KE activity in principle, and ideally before you need formal approval. Be clear what this will contribute to your department and faculty. Make sure key people understand what you are trying to deliver and why.
  • Check the relevant policies and procedures to understand what you need to consider in advance. Will your project need ethics approval?
  • How will this activity fit with your research and teaching activity? What are the synergies and how will you overcome any practical issues?
  • Think about how any activity will be resourced. Will you need to arrange for staff to be released from other activities, or will you need to bring in associates or consultants?
  • Familiarise yourself with the formal approval process and make sure you are clear on what the approval requirements will be for your particular project. Seek advice from Our Team and check on processes within your own faculty/directorate.
  • Discover more about approvals, policies, process and resourcing in support and resources

Deliver successfully

  • Be clear about the price you will be charging for the work and how that relates to the cost calculated using the University costing tool.
  • Check that the legal documentation reflects your understanding of the arrangements agreed with your client. Seek advice about what fits within University guidelines.
  • Ensure you have the right people approved to help with delivery and at the time the project requires.
  • Agree a project plan with delivery milestones and outputs with your client. Do you understand what they need and when? How and when will you communicate with your client during the project?
  • There’s help with pricing and planning in support and resources

Build on your success

  • Be clear about what success will look like for this project? How will you know if you have achieved it?
  • Arrange to talk to the client once the project is finished to find out their views on how it went. Be ready to listen and learn! See whether they will be willing to provide a testimonial that you can use for marketing and to support bids.
  • Talk to the client about whether they would be interested in further work with you, or about other ways they may be interested in working with Brookes. How can we help them?
  • Think about whether your project or something similar may be of interest to other clients. Seek advice about who they might be and how you should approach them?
  • Seek advice about how to market the project both within Brookes and externally. Do this before the project begins to ensure you capture the building blocks you’ll need to market your work and develop new business.