International perspectives on measuring and evaluating knowledge exchange

On Wednesday 13 March 2019, Birkbeck’s Centre for Innovation Management Research (CIMR) hosted a research workshop exploring international evidence on knowledge exchange practices, measurement, and performance in higher education institutions (HEIs).

In light of governments’ commitment to increasing R&D investment to foster innovation, there is greater industry reliance on universities’ expertise, especially because the value generated by universities is fundamental to socio-economic development.

The aim of the workshop was to connect international academics and showcase current research, with a view to identifying opportunities for future research on the measurement and evaluation of knowledge exchange interactions. We welcomed speakers from institutions across the UK and Europe, including Dr Hamish McAlpine, Head of Knowledge Exchange Data and Evidence at UKRI.

Measuring Universities’ Engagement in Knowledge Exchange

The first part of the workshop was focused on innovative methodologies for measuring universities’ engagement in knowledge exchange. Dr Jasmina Berbegal-Mirabent (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya) opened the workshop by providing an overview of her exploratory comparative analysis of how Spanish public HEIs manage their technology transfer portfolios. Dr Eva de La Torre Garcia (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) presented a mapping of Spanish universities based on numerous institutional characteristics including their efficiency. Dr Federica Rossi and Dr Muthu de Silva (Birkbeck) presented an analysis of the impact of university-industry collaborations using topic modelling.

Drivers of Universities’ Knowledge Exchange Performance

The second part of the workshop included two presentations focusing on how universities signal their quality to potential collaborators in conditions of asymmetric information. Dr Abhijit Sengupta (University of Kent) presented a study of knowledge exchange in Indian universities, while Dr Chiara Marzocchi (University of Manchester) and Dr Fumi Kitagawa (University of Edinburgh) focused on UK graduate entrepreneurs’ ability to attract investment.

The last presentation focused on the UK’s approach to measuring universities’ performance in knowledge exchange. Dr Hamish McAlpine (Research England) presented a comprehensive overview of the Knowledge Exchange Framework’s objectives, structure and prospects. This was followed by a lively discussion about the advantages and difficulties of measuring knowledge exchange.

Thanks to all our speakers and attendees for facilitating an interesting debate on the drivers of knowledge exchange and the unique strategic approaches taken by different universities across the world.