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The KE Step Change Project: Piloting KE Culture Change across the ECR/PGR Community in Scotland Alison McCleery – Director of Research Convenor of Universities.

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Presentation on theme: "The KE Step Change Project: Piloting KE Culture Change across the ECR/PGR Community in Scotland Alison McCleery – Director of Research Convenor of Universities."— Presentation transcript:

1 The KE Step Change Project: Piloting KE Culture Change across the ECR/PGR Community in Scotland Alison McCleery – Director of Research Convenor of Universities Scotland Research Training Sub-Committee Universities Scotland KE Step Change Supporting Scottish Researchers to Engage in Knowledge Exchange Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

2 Q. What do PhDs do? A. Prove the 1 in 8 rule What should PhDs be doing? Transcending discipline boundaries Transcending national boundaries Speaking employers’ language Engaging with the public Q. How? A. By adding value through generic skills training which builds KE capacity Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011 KE and the 21 st Century Research Degree

3 Scottish HE Research Collaboration Research competitiveness through collaboration Prior example of doing research through pooling Can collaborative KE researcher training also work? Sector-wide R&KE training committee willing to try! Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

4 Wider context of Research Excellence with Impact KT and KE increasingly critical to Impact Agenda Impact good for economy & society as well as REF Cross-sector KE Step Change programme launched Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011 Scottish KE Research Collaboration

5 The KE Step Change Challenge What: to translate research into impact through a cross-sector culture change across the cohort of ECRs/PGRs How: by changing the researcher mindset so that KE is perceived as a core element of the normal research portfolio Why: to instil attributes of openness, flexibility and adaptability and so make an impact beyond the academy Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

6 Academic Excellence into Impact The researchers: ECRs/PGRs are the research leaders of tomorrow to whom we owe a duty of care The requirement: ECRs/PGRs must make a real world impact and be capacity built in order to do so The rationale: initial investment in personal gain translates in turn into delivery of public good The reach: sector-wide approach to delivery produces essential cross-fertilisation of ideas as well as desirable economies of scale Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

7 Engaging Experiences Across discipline boundaries: opportunities for semi-structured encounters between ECRs/PGRs from a range of disciplines Across sector boundaries: opportunities for formal or informal encounters by ECRs/PGRs with entrepreneurs and innovators Across institutional boundaries: opportunities for exploring key national institutions and analysing their inter-linked functions Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

8 KE Step Change: A Targeted Programme Strand 1: First Steps in KE for researchers new to the concept and actuality of Knowledge Transfer/Knowledge Exchange Strand 2: Leadership Innovation for those who understand the concept and need help to turn it into reality Strand 3: Scottish Crucible for hand-picked high fliers who could benefit from intensive exposure to KE ideas and activities Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

9 Something for Everyone Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

10 Coordinated by Universities Scotland & funded by Scottish Funding Council with buy-in from: All of Scotland’s Higher Education Institutions Scottish Funding Council & Government Royal Society of Edinburgh National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Key business stakeholder representatives Something from Everyone: Genuine Collaboration Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

11 Universities as social capital Capacity building of emergent talent Added value of inter-disciplinarity Inspiring innovation & encouraging enterprise Breaking down barriers & working together For the benefit of economic prosperity, social well-being and community cohesiveness Investment in Impact through … Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

12 Strategic Barriers? – political, institutional, financial, definitional Operational Challenges – too little, too late, but also too much, too soon Sensible Solutions – evaluate and explain, then revise and repeat Difficult Dilemma – the tricky business of Full Economic Costing Solutions? – Identify, Develop & exchange working practice – Broaden and deepen partnership working – Erasmus Funding Programme New skills for researchers & entrepreneurship Two-way knowledge exchange between key actors From Rhetoric to Reality Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

13 Price – £100k from the Scottish Funding Council before the downturn kicked in fully Cost – blood, sweat and tears in the shape of staff time not accounted for through TRAC Value – more than 4 X the original investment including in-kind contributions and new money Price, Cost and Value Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

14 Strategic Barriers – comprehensive continuation difficult in downturn Operational Challenges – hard to reach non-traditional PhD candidates Pragmatic Solutions – evaluate, explain, convince, collaborate, innovate Difficulty of in-kind and fEC – project’s greatest strength is its main weakness Looking Forward Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

15 ‘Worthwhile but time-consuming’ ‘Worthwhile and thought provoking’ ‘No magic answer... just confidence and a prepared approach’ ‘If it makes sense, then we can do it – maybe!’ ‘Life-changing’ And for some participants life did indeed change almost immediately for the better The view from the ground Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011

16 In November 2010 The Universities Scotland Research Training Sub-Committee won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers Sponsored by Research Councils UK in association with Vitae Recognising the highly successful collaborative outcome of the KE Step Change Project Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011 The view from the top

17 Thank you for your attention First of all: are there any questions? Next: let’s try some KE scenarios! Universities Scotland KE Step Change Supporting Scottish Researchers to Engage in Knowledge Exchange Alison McCleery QAA Scotland Bologna Seminar Brussels March 2011


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