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Friday 20 September
My.Anglia > Rido > KE > working with businesses

Innovation and knowledge exchange opportunities for academics

What is Innovation and Knowledge Exhange?

Innovation, sometimes described as 'industrial research' (Innovate UK, 2017) is the process of putting research into practice. Taking your expert knowledge and applying it to real-world problems that require solutions.

Knowledge Exchange (KE) is a process involving academics, an external organisations(s) and/or the public. The process encourages the sharing of ideas, data, experience and expertise which is mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

Why take part in innovation/knowledge exchange activity?

Getting involved in innovation and KE activities can be a rewarding experience and a gateway to many career enhancing prospects, such as the opportunity to:

  • Achieve impact through your research, which could contribute to REF.
  • Apply your knowledge and expertise to current business scenarios to validate your research.
  • Develop long-term relationships with the business sector, which can help you identify new research themes.
  • Inform your teaching activities, including case studies and data for teaching and potentially projects for your undergraduate and/or postgraduate students.
  • Provide employment opportunities for your most promising graduates.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • Generate income for your faculty/department.
  • Work with businesses, including SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises)

Many of our academics have engaged in innovation and/or knowledge exchange activites and have found it to be a rewarding experience. For example, Dr Nektarios Tzempelikos recently engaged in one of our knowledge exchange programmes. Read how Nektarios and his faculty benefited from participating in one of our programmes.

How can I get involved?

There are many ways in which you can take part in such activity. For example, through:

  • Consultancy
  • Contract and commissioned research
  • Collaborative research
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs). This vary in length and time-commitment and offer different opportunities for you to develop your knowledge exchange experience.

At ARU, we're also leading or are actively involved in three ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) projects which are running over the next three years. These knowledge exchange programmes are:

  1. Innovation Bridge (provide up to 20 hours of academic consultancy to SMEs in Cambridgshire/Peterborough)
  2. KEEP+ (delivering subsidised innovation support services, including knowledge exchange and consultancy to local SMEs)
  3. REACTOR (enabling connections between businesses and academics in the Cambridgeshire/Peterborough applied games sector)

You can work with an organisation on a range of short term projects, build up a relationship with that organisation and then progress on to a larger scale project. Or, if you’re interested in committing to a longer term project, there are a number of options which may be more suitable.

The below table summarises our current ERDF programmes:

Support includes:

Typical project length

Typical project value

Programme name

Innovation Bridge

20 hours


Create an action plan for an organisation and help them decide how they could take forward their plans for a new product or service.


12 hours


Provide bespoke mentoring support to a company who is developing an applied gaming application


5-7 days approx


Provide innovation support to an organisation which will help them launch a product to their organisation


10 days approx


Provide innovation support to a company which will help them launch a new product to market


6-12 months project timespan – all projects are designed with the company and your input so can be designed to fit around your other responsibilities e.g. could be 1 day a week

£30,000-60,000 but could be £15,000 for shorter term projects

Work as an academic consultant or as a group of academics (with technical support if needed) to enable a company to develop and launch a new product or service


12 months project timespan (an average of 1 day a week)


Work as an academic consultant to enable a company to develop and launch a new product or service BUT with the help of a full time graduate working in the company with you supervising their work.

How do businesses benefit from collaborating with us?

By giving an SME access to our research and knowledge we can help them get their innovation to market and build a stronger future for the company by transferring and embedding that knowledge into the company. We will also build stronger links between universities and organisations that will foster longer term relationships meaning we develop opportunities to do further work together in the future.

All ERDF projects offer financial assistance to support companies considered to be SMEs - including those in the not-for-profit sector – to work with academics to develop a new product or service. This can be a product/service which is totally new to the market or just new to the SME.

I want to get involved. Who do I contact?

Innovation Bridge, KEEP+, KTPs

Simon Daly
Senior Business Development Manager

Phone: 01245 68 3173


Tammy Au
Business Development Manager

Phone: 01223695057


Richard Allin
Business Development Manager


REACTOR, Digital and Creative Sector Lead

Dr Jan Storgards
REACTOR’s Project Director

Phone: 01223 69 2997

Consultancy, Contract Research, Collaborative Research

Partnership Development Manager (FHSCE)

Phone: 0845 196 2955


Amy Wilson
Partnership Development Manager (ALSS)

Phone: 0845 196 5139