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The Knowledge Hub (UK~IRC)

Aims & objectives

The UK~IRC Knowledge Hub is engaged in systematic dialogue with key stakeholders to ensure strategic alignment so that activities have maximum external impact on policy and practice and that they inform the research agenda of the centre. The Hub has embarked on knowledge exchange including a wide range of research on innovation (including collaborating with other projects commissioned as part of the initiative) and has developed links and relationships with other national and international institutions concerned with innovation policy and practice, including BISNESTA, the Technology Strategy Board, the CBI, the Council for Science and Technology, the OECD, the EUCIHE (Council for Industry and Higher Education), DIME (Dynamics of Institutions and Markets in Europe). In 2009-2010 the Hub worked with communication specialists to develop web and corporate identity which has been applied across a range of media. It has also begun the compilation of a contacts database, has held six dissemination and research development events which were attended by over 350 delegates. The UK~IRC has through the Hub provided policy briefings and inputs into tailor made events for DCLG, BIS and TSB (in relation to innovation briefings, commentary on OECD innovation policy and impact evaluation respectively), sponsored the launch or publication of three major policy reports and developed on-line twitter and blog activity, posted many podcasts on the website linked to Hub events, and actively promoted media coverage of the UK~IRC research in a wide range of published media. The UK~IRC also exhibited at the TSB Innovate ’09 conference.

Knowledge Hub highlights

  • The launch of three major reports on the relationship between universities, industry and the third sector, which draw on four new surveys of academics and industry and their attitudes to engagement and exchange. This research demonstrates the rich patterns of engagement that binds UK academics to other parts of society, including government, industry and the third sector, helping to challenge ideas that academics operate in ‘ivory towers’. This work has been widely featured in the popular press, including The Guardian, The Times, Financial Times, Research Fortnight, ESRC Today, BBC, The Australian, New Scientist, Times Higher Education as well as leading to presentations to HM Treasury, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Research Council UKAURILHEFCE, Cabinet Office, The Hauser Review, NESTA, OECD, International Alliance of Research Universities and a range of other policy forums. The research was cited in The Council for Science and technology report A Vision for UK Research, The Royal Society Report The Scientific Century and the 2009 BIS Annual Innovation Report.
  • We launched a major new report on UK innovation policy, challenging the myths of government support for high technology ventures. We explored the development of high tech businesses in the Cambridge area and their growth through the use of soft business models, such as selling research contracts. This report featured in the Financial Times.
  • We launched a well timed report entitled Rebalancing the British economy: a strategic assessment. This research looked to quantify the forces that drove the economy into recession and identified the macroeconomic policies that would support a balanced recovery. This report was featured in The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, The Observer and The Independent.
  • Held first Innovation Summit co-funded with QinetiQ and EPSRC at Royal Society, London.
  • We were a major sponsor at the DRUID conference, sponsoring two tracks on open Innovation.
  • Presentations and policy discussions held with senior government ministers (the Prime Minister, Lord Mandelson, Lord Myners, Lord Drayson) and senior officials (Director General Science and Research, Director of Research HEFCE, RCUK, TSB, BIS) on Financing Innovation, Innovation Policy and the Future of the Research Base.

Forthcoming Hub activities

The activities of the Hub will continue to co-evolve with the research agenda of the centre, as the latter develops and expands. The centre utilises systematic dialogue with key stakeholders to ensure strategic alignment, so that activities have maximum external impact on policy and practice.

Corporate identity

Activities planned: apply identity to other media as required.

Internal communication

Activities planned: develop an intranet facility.

Media relations

Activities planned: continued media releases for appropriate activities and circulation of an electronic newsletter, sent to the UK~IRC database, including those individuals who sign-up via the website.


Activities planned: continued on-going updating of the website including uploading podcasts and other media.


Events include an early career researchers Conference ‘New Frontiers in Innovation’ 13-14 September 2010; the Innovation Summit, with partner, 7 December 2010 held at Cambridge Judge Business School, Cambridge and a workshop exploring the interpretation and analysis of CIS data. Further events will be organised including events in collaboration with the main distributed projects and with other stakeholders. 

Reports & publications

Activities planned: continued publication of research findings emerging from the activities of the Centre. These will be published and made available on the Centre’s website.

People-based activities

Activities planned: develop Policy Assist in collaboration with BIS and other stakeholders.

Evaluation performance

An online tool will be developed to analyse the Centre’s impact on behaviour, knowledge and network development. It will be used to provide a regular evaluation of how use of UK~IRC materials and participation in UK~IRC activities has influenced behaviour, knowledge or membership of networks. An online questionnaire (such as Qualtrics) will be used to survey participants every six months.

Director of the Knowledge Hub

Michael Kitson

Project dates