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CMI’s strategy, informed by its internal and external stakeholders, focussed on knowledge exchange by:
Universities typically operate in three domains: education, research, and engagement with industry and society. Rather than distinct streams, CMI addressed these as integrated and overlapping activities, each with an important contribution to the flow of knowledge [see Figure 1].
Knowledge exchange emerges from interacting activities in these three domains. Consistent with this view, CMI developed programmes in three main areas:
Figure 1 CMI Programme areas
In each area, CMI set out to demonstrate how knowledge exchange between stakeholders could bring value to each without compromising the interests of either. For example, selected and supported research projects used the same criteria of peer review that would apply in other academic research projects, but with added elements of knowledge exchange and informed by end-user requirements, that is with “a consideration of use”. This meant that in setting the research agenda, proposers would give consideration to where that research might find application, even though this may not have been the original stimulus for the idea.
Students are likely to be better prepared for their potential roles as knowledge exchange agents, innovators and future entrepreneurs by an education that develops:
CMI funded projects in education that brought together disciplines and built new connections among bodies of knowledge necessary for innovation. The projects placed great emphasis on skills, including ‘generic skills’ as well as those specific to innovation. It is important for students not only to learn these skills, but to develop ‘professional confidence’ or ‘self-efficacy’ in their ability to apply them, thus preparing them to take the risks inherent in innovation.
Making the research enterprise a more important instrument of innovation and knowledge may involve:
CMI selected projects that met one or more of these objectives and that also had the potential to develop technologies in areas in which the UK is industrially competitive, such as aerospace and pharmaceuticals, but also those with long-term potential, such as quantum engineering and micro-technologies. There was also significant investment in research that is relevant to sectors that are important to the national infrastructure, including cities, healthcare and transport.
Knowledge exchange and innovation are likely to be enhanced by industry interactions with universities that:
In its programmes in engaging with industry, which include enterprises of all sizes, CMI emphasised personal interactions and long term mutually beneficial relationships. By establishing and sustaining two-way communication between industry and academia, the results of university research can flow naturally to industry. The programmes developed to achieve this objective include Knowledge Integration Communities (KICs), Digital Spaces for Knowledge Exchange, and other professional education activities.
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