< Return to the Research Lifecycle

Ensuring that our research has an impact on society is a fundamental part of the research lifecycle. Our external funders, industry and the general public increasingly expect Universities to demonstrate the value of our research. To support researchers in achieving this goal, BU has a dedicated team of specialists.  The Knowledge Exchange and Impact team provides support and advice for all corporate-level knowledge exchange initiatives, including business engagement, research communications, research impact and public engagement with research. We believe that creating pathways to impact is a hugely rewarding element of the research lifecycle and has the potential to generate innovative ideas for future research.

Research Communications

The Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team (KEIT) work closely with BU’s Press and PR team in M&C, to ensure your research is heard and seen by the right people. Support for communications includes setting up project pages and research centre pages on the BU website, providing website training, social media, working with the Conversation and communication of research to policy makers, working closely with BU’s policy team.

Contact the Research Communications Adviser for further information.

Public Engagement with Research

Engaging with public groups can improve the relevance, quality and impact of your research. At BU we provide comprehensive support for public engagement with research, including;


We provide training sessions spanning an introduction to public engagement through to evaluating for impact and developing a public engagement strategy. Find out more and book onto upcoming sessions through the RKEDF.

Public Engagement with Research Network

Our Public Engagement with Research Network welcomes all staff to learn from one another’s experiences and expertise, network and collaborate on new projects, develop best practice, discuss important issues facing public engagement and network with colleagues across the institution.


The public engagement team are able to offer advice on all stages and aspects of public engagement with research, from early engagement to develop research questions, through applying for funding, engagement with ongoing research and sharing your findings with relevant audiences. Contact us directly with your questions.


Although we encourage and support you to develop and deliver your own bespoke public engagement activities, we also organise several initiatives for you to be involved in.

Café Scientifique is a casual event delivered monthly, at which anyone can come and learn about the latest ideas in science and technology. Usually these are held at Cafe Boscanova in Boscombe, but since Sept 2020 they have been held online. Speaking at these events is a great way to build experience in talking about your research to the public, as well as getting some great questions in return! Contact us if you are interested in taking part.

Every year we co-ordinate a variety of activities for the ESRC Festival of Social Science – an annual celebration of the social sciences taking place across the UK. The festival is a fantastic opportunity to engage with specific non-academic groups and has previously featured talks, exhibitions, debates, workshops and more. Watch this blog, join the PER Network or get in touch with the team to find out when applications open.

Developing and evidencing impact

Impact is not just for REF, but for the whole research life cycle. Understanding what impact is and how to develop it is key to successful funding bids. At the beginning of a project, it means thinking about what your research could change for the better, and who the beneficiaries might be. It involves collaboration, co-production and the engagement of key stakeholders throughout the research process, and collecting evidence of impact along the way. It is about the good your research can do outside BU. To learn more about how your research can have impact, contact us.

Knowledge Exchange

Universities are major contributors to society and the economy at local, national and international levels. A key and growing part of the role of universities is proactive ‘knowledge exchange’, which is defined as a collaborative, creative endeavour that translates knowledge and research into impact in society and the economy. The Government is committed to a strategic, long term approach to knowledge exchange. In return, it expects that universities are able to demonstrate the value of what they do and commit to pursuing excellence and sharing good practice (from KE Concordat).

Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF)

Research England provide funding for knowledge exchange (Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF)) to support and develop a broad range of knowledge-based interactions between universities and colleges and the wider world, which result in economic and social benefit to the UK. To find our more about HEIF click here. To learn more about how you can access this funding , speak to our dedicated Knowledge Exchange Adviser.

Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF)

The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) is a new initiative that aims to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public funding for knowledge exchange (KE) and to further a culture of continuous improvement in universities receiving funding from the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).

As an institution that receives HEIF funding, BU submits a series of narrative statements to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to demonstrate our knowledge exchange work. These span institutional context, local growth and regeneration, and public and community engagement.

Contact the Knowledge Exchange Manager for further information.

Knowledge Exchange Concordat

BU is a signatory of the Knowledge Exchange Concordat, a set of high-level principles that aim to cover the range of necessary underpinning activities for effective knowledge exchange. The KE concordat provides a mechanism by which we can consider our performance across wide-ranging knowledge exchange and commit to improving in those areas that are consistent with our priorities and expertise.

Contact the Knowledge Exchange Manager for further information.


Business Engagement

Business engagement  and knowledge exchange activities can be supported and delivered in a variety of different ways from Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) to Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) to UK , EU and overseas funding calls to engage the business community.  If you would like to explore the most effective mechanism to engage with business (whether an SME, multinational or a charity) then please do not hesitate to contact the Knowledge Exchange Manager to source the most appropriate support.

UK business funding opportunities

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. The aim of Innovate UK is to work with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. To learn more about how you can access this funding, speak to your Faculty’s Business and Knowledge Exchange Manager.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) are a government-funded scheme to share university knowledge with UK businesses. These partnerships allow a business/academic partnership to recruit a graduate associate and for the business to access specific skills with the aim to increase industry productivity and improve performance. KTPs can last between twelve months and three years and often result in long-term partnerships with the partnered university. To learn more about how you can develop a KTP, speak to speak to your Faculty’s Business and Knowledge Exchange Manager.


>Proceed to stage 1 – Your research strategy