Knowledge Exchange Awards

The Knowledge Exchange Awards celebrates the hard work and achievements of Birmingham City University (BCU) staff, projects and programmes that have contributed to the area of knowledge exchange.

What is knowledge exchange?

Knowledge exchange covers a breadth of work with external partners, ranging from businesses to community groups.

Universities such as BCU are major contributors to society and the economy at local, national and international levels. As the University for Birmingham, a key and growing part of our civic role is proactive knowledge exchange.

Knowledge exchange also refers to collaborative, creative endeavour that translates our knowledge and research into impact in society and the economy.

Practical examples include:

  • Driving the exchange of knowledge into business and the community through professional development, collaborative and contract research, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, public and community engagement, and regeneration projects funded by third parties.
  • Public events allowing businesses to access specialist equipment or facilities.
  • Undertaking consultancy or the licensing of intellectual property so others may use it.
  • Sharing expertise and knowledge with a business to support the development of an innovative new product or service.

Why has the Knowledge Exchange Awards been created?

Government policy has placed renewed focus on determining the contribution and value of university knowledge exchange activity.

This includes the introduction of a Knowledge Exchange Framework to enable comparison between institutions, as well as the Knowledge Exchange Concordat, which BCU signed up to in order to demonstrate its commitment to supporting and driving the exchange of knowledge into business and the community.

The Knowledge Awards has been devised following consultation with over 80 academic and professional staff through the Concordat process, who highlighted an opportunity for increased recognition for their work against this agenda.  

The Awards look to raise the profile of the brilliant work of academics and professional service staff in supporting the exchange of knowledge into the wider community.

Director of Innovation, Enterprise and Employability Joanna Birch said: “BCU is a knowledge-based institution that prides itself on supporting businesses, organisations and communities to develop, grow and solve challenges.

“This new annual awards ceremony is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the breadth and impact of knowledge exchange activity conducted by staff on a regional, national and global level, while also supporting an environment for knowledge exchange to increasingly flourish and prosper.”  

The first ever Knowledge Exchange Awards - who was recognised?

Lecturer Sam Coley receiving a Knowledge Exchange Award from Julian Beer and Ed James. The inaugural Knowledge Exchange Awards happened on Thursday 7 July 2022 and saw a number of impactful projects and academics recognised across several categories.

Prevailing in the Role Model award category was Professor David Edwards for his team’s work in driving safety on highways construction and maintenance, delivered in partnership with Highways England.

Also highly commended in this category was Ian Williams, Associate Professor in Digital Media Technology, for his contribution to delivering impactful knowledge exchange activities.

Sam Coley, Associate Professor in Media Production, then clinched the Best Public and Community Engagement award (pictured).

Sam proved victorious in this category thanks to his work leading the Cities of Sound radio documentary series, which worked with BCU staff, students and graduates to create 12 one-hour shows on life in lockdown during Covid-19.

With collaborations with businesses forming such a vital part of knowledge exchange, there were two separate award categories reflecting this activity – Best Research with Business and Best Consultancy Project with Business, respectively.

The former went to David Lee, a Reader in Molecular Microbiology, for BCU’s collaborative project on designing, producing and testing a hard-wearing antimicrobial surface coating that aims to prevent the growth of bacteria on the Chinese Space Station.

Meanwhile, the latter category saw two projects commended:

  • Associate Professor in Internet of Things Adel Aneiba’s consultancy project with the River Severn Partnership, in which the latter were provided with a unique, AI-powered data business intelligence system.
  • The Commonwealth Games medal design, conducted by a student team at the School of Jewellery and overseen by Dauvit Alexander, HND Jewellery and Silversmithing Course Director.

The work of Taufiq Asyhari (Associate Professor in Networks and Communications) and his team on the 5G Connected Forest project saw them pick up the Best Research with Public and Third Sector accolade, Most Impactful Continuing Professional Development going to the PERSEUS project.

The final award, Best Knowledge Exchange Project with Public and Third Sector, saw three projects highlighted for their great work.

Senior Lecturer Chris Carter and Joy Notter, Professor of Community Health Care Studies, were ultimately crowned as winners for their work in knowledge sharing, exchange and transfer between nurses in the UK and Zambia to advance the international nursing community.

Two further projects were also commended in this category:

  • Kusminder Chahal, Senior Research Fellow, for the partnership between BCU and Stop Hate UK to develop evidence-informed training and an evidence-based toolkit.
  • The UPR Project, based in School of Law, which has been engaging with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to meet the challenges facing the safeguarding of human rights around the world.

Relive our first ever Knowledge Exchange Awards by taking a peek through the event's photos.