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Identifying knowledge capable of creating impact


Part 2 of 6: Dr Angela Kukula continues her series on delivering impact and commercial opportunity through research. In this blog, she looks at how universities can uncover the knowledge within their walls.

Posted on 30 April, 2019 by Dr Angela Kukula

two people discussing business ideas

Image: two people discussing business ideas via Pixabay. License: CC0

Read more in this series

Very few higher education institutions have sufficient resource to be able to deploy scouts in all areas of their university to find all the new ideas and technologies that researchers are developing.

So it is important to nurture an environment where the best ideas are brought to the university – or more accurately to the knowledge exchange office (KEO), like the ICR’s Enterprise Unit.

This requires concise and engaging communication to the university faculty of the work done by the KEO, what it is looking for, how it is done, what to expect and where to find it, with highlighting of success stories.

Some organisations have embedded staff within research departments to help bring suitable research outputs forward – these could be KEO staff or, increasingly, are researchers themselves who have expressed an interest in knowledge exchange and received additional training in how to identify and develop impactful ideas amongst their peers.

Support your academics

Academics also need the right training and support to determine for themselves when they have promising ideas, and what to do with them when they do.

Such training can also be valuable in preparing researchers for positions outside of universities and is particularly helpful for early-career researchers, only a handful of whom will find their ultimate career in academia.

But most importantly, whilst the KEO should and must provide support and training, the initial path to commercialisation must be led by the researchers involved. Whatever method is finally chosen to achieve impact or commercialise research outputs, most knowledge exchange will require support and ongoing input from the originating researchers, so it needs to be something that they want to do and a journey they wish to go on with their research.

Once research has been uncovered, and we have a researcher eager to proceed, what needs to happen next? 

Read part three


Angela Kukula Enterprise Unit
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