Over 30 researchers from Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, and the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership attended a lunchtime workshop on developing skills for industrial engagement and dissemination. This workshop was one of a series run under the Engineering Department’s theme on ‘Inspiring Research through Industrial Collaboration‘, funded via the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).
Chris Pearson of the Cambridge Service Alliance presented lessons from the KT-Box project, describing how industrial collaborators worked with researchers to disseminate and embed insights, tools and capabilities in organisations as diverse as a Welsh Housing Association, the Royal Navy and a small engineering systems company. He described ways to manage budgets to keep the projects agile, linking industrial collaborators from different industry sectors to share transferable insights, and pairing early-stage researchers with a company’s engineers to get the best implementation within industrial partners.
Peter Guthrie of the Centre for Sustainable Development described the ISSUES project which engaged stakeholders and disseminated £38M of EPSRC research. In an iconoclastic presentation, Peter described the profound differences between research that is ‘Useful’, ‘Usable’ and ‘Used’. He showed the dangers of mis-matching communication channels and the great significance of personal trust at the core of long-term research relationships.
Subsequent discussion in the workshop discussed mechanisms for matching long-term research projects and industry’s short-term needs in meaningful collaborations, the value of industrial advisors to PhD students, and the challenges of engaging with SMEs.
If you would like to be on the mailing list for future workshops in this series please contact Charles Boulton (firstname.lastname@example.org). Further information on the Engineering Department’s theme on ‘Inspiring research through industrial collaboration’ can be found at www.engineerimpact.info or by following twitter.com/engineerimpact.