Postgraduate research Knowledge Exchange
We support postgraduate and early career researchers to collaborate with external partners via placements and other cross-sectorial projects that bring research outside academia.
Our Knowledge Exchange programme for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers is designed to support you to engage with external partners, create impact with your research, and develop skills and networks that can boost your professional development and employability both inside and outside academia.
We foster cross-sectorial collaboration, co-creation, and knowledge exchange through a series of different schemes and initiatives.
Why Knowledge Exchange?
Knowledge Exchange refers to the two-way flow of ideas, insights, evidence, expertise, and people between academic and non-academic contexts.
This notion of intersectoral collaboration in the definition of what constitutes excellence in academic research has grown in relevance in the past decade, with Research Councils strongly advocating the role of humanities research in maximising 'public benefit', by 'enabling cultural participation, addressing contemporary social challenges and creating economic value'.
Knowledge Exchange between arts and humanities research and non-University sectors - from the creative industries and the heritage sector to the third sector, health services, and government agencies - therefore plays an integral part in what it means to do world-leading research today and as such is central in our doctoral training programme.
Engaging with external partners is a great opportunity to broaden the scope and possibilities of your PhD, since it opens the door to developing new contacts in the field, bringing new insights into your research work, building and strengthening professional reputation, and opening further opportunities in terms of new research projects and collaborations.
Regardless of the career paths you will take, in academia or industry (or both), engaging with non-University partners during your PhD provides you with highly transferable skills and work experience which will support the development of a unique contribution to the cultural, social, and economic life of the wider community, that you can make thanks to your research skills and expertise.
Knowledge Exchange activities
Knowledge Exchange includes a wide variety of activities with the common trait of engaging with non-University partners in the public, private, or third sectors, in a way that shows the relevance of research to these external audiences. Knowledge Exchange activities can be classified into four broad groups:
- Community-based - For example lectures for the community, school projects, social enterprise activity, performing arts and related cultural activities, museums and art galleries, heritage and tourism activities, public exhibitions, and community-based sports.
- Commercial - For example patenting, licensing, spin-outs, and business consultancy.
- People-based - For example creating and participating in networks, lectures for the community, sitting on advisory boards, employee training, standard-setting forums, curriculum development, and enterprise education.
- Problem-solving - For example joint research and/or publications with external organisations, consultancy services, contract research, secondment to external organisations, prototyping and testing, and setting up new physical facilities.
The Humanities Placement scheme and the other initiatives listed below aim to provide you with a range of opportunities to develop awareness about the Knowledge Exchange potential of your research; that is to identify how your research can be relevant to contexts and communities beyond academia, and to develop these ideas in the most relevant directions for your own research interests, aspirations, and careers goals.
Our postgraduate and early career researchers have been working with businesses, and public and third-sector organisations to create social, cultural, and economic benefits through the most innovative approaches in academic research.
Learn more about some of the organisations we've worked with and explore our case studies below.
A research project to improve the quality of bespoke interventions with young people.
Career Connect supports young people with personal and professional development through tailored support in career planning, job search, and skills development.
Despite the success of their services, Career Connect has identified a group of individuals that have continued to stay 'not in education, employment or training' (NEET).
The primary concern of this project is to understand why this group remains NEET and thus support the company to develop a more appropriate service for this particular group of users.
The Research Team will provide Career Connect with a report evidencing points of impact of their service to date and recommendations for future service development, on the basis of:
- Analysis of the company's service provision, through the review of documentation, website, key performance indicators, and reports;
- Staff interviews to develop a more in-depth understanding of the services provided;
- Analysis of quantitative data, User segmentation, and in-depth analysis to identify key trends and patterns in user journey and success;
- Targeted survey of service users to analyse their perceived impact of the service received and possible areas of development.
- Mayra Morales Tirado - PhD Researcher in Business and Management (The University of Manchester, Alliance Business School)
- Amalachukwu Nwazota - PhD Researcher in Law (The University of Manchester, School of Social Sciences)
- Noelyn Onah - PhD Researcher in Data Analytics (The University of Manchester, School of Social Sciences)
- Researchers have used a combination of interviews, data reviews, and surveys to investigate the key factors that enable young people to successfully transition to education, employment, and training and the impact of Career Connect in this area.
- These findings have offered clear guidance on how Career Connect can build upon its impact in this area so far and achieve more impactful interventions in the future
This project was completed in 2019-20 as part of the Collaboration Labs programme, a PhD research consultancy programme created by REALab, with funding from the ESRC, the NWCDTP, and the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at The University of Manchester.
Supporting a grassroots research project on violence against LGBTIQ+ people in favelas.
Since 2006, the Grupo Conexão G de Cidadania LGBT de Favelas (Conexão G: Group for LGBT Citizenship in favelas) has been working with LGBTIQ+ people from favelas (roughly ‘shanty towns’) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Their mission is to promote, implement and integrate public policies on health, education, and public security for LGBT persons living in favelas.
One of Conexao G’s projects is called Monitoring Centre of LGBT+ Violence in Favelas in Rio de Janeiro, an innovative research project which seeks to identify and understand experiences of violence against LGBTIQ+ people and recommend actions.
They had funding for data collection and partnerships for survey design and data treatment.
However, the organisation wanted to improve their qualitative research skills.
Thus, the goal for this placement was to offer training and support in qualitative research and academic writing.
Luan Carpes Barros Cassal, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Humanities, School of Environment, Education, and Development, Manchester Institute of Education.
Working as a research fellow, Luan used his experience in social psychology and education to develop training sessions on academic and report writing, group work, discourse analysis, and qualitative research.
Using a Freirean pedagogical approach, weekly meetings were led by challenges from fieldwork and data analysis to discuss writing, group work, discourse analysis, and qualitative research. In particular, the project created:
- A training programme for the research team (4 research assistants, PI, and research manager)
- Analysis of the bank of data
- A co-authored thematic report (bulletin) on healthcare and the final report 2022 for the
project’s funding body, Race & Equality
- A co-authored policy brief with recommendations for public authorities
- A bi-lingual blog post (English and Portuguese) on the project
- A seminar for Manchester Institute of Education
- A co-authored paper for Gender and Sexuality Journal
Luan’s participation involved engaging in data analysis (especially the effects of violence on schooling, employment, healthcare, and social care), writing reports, and dissemination.
The reports were submitted to the Monitoring Centre’s funding body, while specific policy briefs with recommendations for government and policymakers will be published in early 2023.
The Monitoring Centre brought innovative data about LGBTIQ+ people in favelas’ restrictions and lack of access to healthcare, schooling, employment, welfare, and housing.
Besides, they identified the negative effects of police and military invasion in favelas.
This unfair, discriminatory, and threatening strand of the war on drugs disproportionately affects LGBTIQ+ people, by preventing their access to services, violating their rights, and damaging their mental health and well-being on top of structural racism, sexism, and queerphobia.
The project strongly opposes police and military invasions as a public security strategy, while it advocates for community-informed planning policies, including LGBTIQ+ people in favelas in decision-making.
Diversity Reading List
Supporting students to learn about underrepresented topics and thinkers in philosophy.
The Diversity Reading List (DRL) aims to diversify the range of topics and thinkers that are traditionally represented in Philosophy curriculums.
It does this by providing resources for lecturers and teaching fellows to diversify their courses under the tight time constraints that university staff typically operate within.
The central challenge for this project was to understand trends and patterns in what is represented on philosophy syllabi across the UK.
The subsequent challenge was then to assess and address the impact of this on the student experience.
There were three broad aims of this project.
Firstly, to understand which philosophical topics are taught most frequently on undergraduate syllabi and which are neglected.
Secondly, to understand how the composition of philosophical topics on syllabi impacts student experience – especially those students who are members of marginalised groups.
And finally, to provide tools for students to learn about underrepresented topics outside of their restrictive syllabi.
- Anne-Marie McCallion, PhD in Philosophy, School of Social Sciences;
- In collaboration with Dr Syzmon Fokt, Manager of the DRL.
The project collected data on undergraduate syllabi from the top 15 and bottom 15 Philosophy departments in the UK, presenting the occurrences of each philosophical topic within these 30 departments in a graph format.
Anne-Marie McCallion, who lead the project, interviewed students from a variety of backgrounds within these 30 departments, analysing the interviews in relation to the relative diversity of their department’s syllabi.
Interviews also explored students' thoughts about what they were being taught and how the composition of their syllabi had impacted their student experience.
The project created two ‘reading group blueprints’ which provided students with the tools to learn about underrepresented topics such as feminism, race, and post-colonialism.
Findings and impact
The research clearly shows that there is less representation of topics that concern areas such as race, gender, and class (RGC) when compared to other philosophical topics.
Further data analysis is required to determine exactly how inequitable the distribution is, but what we can determine for certain at this stage is that there is a substantial discrepancy.
The visual graphs created will be an excellent starting point for further research in an under-researched area.
These graphs were published on the DRL website (an open-access platform) in order to encourage researchers interested in diversifying philosophy to conduct further analysis of the data.
In addition, the research blueprints created will allow students to study RGC topics by guiding them through the seminal literature within these areas.
The graphs and the research blueprints have also greatly benefitted the DRL.
In identifying exactly where the gaps are in syllabi, they have provided a clear starting point for intervention, thereby foundationally facilitating and enriching the new student-focused section of the website, which will cater to students who wish to learn more about RGC topics.
Finally, the interviews conducted provide important empirical evidence which can be cited in grant applications written to further fund this new section of the DRL website.
This project was completed as part of the NWCDTP Placement scheme (Researcher-Led), between January and June 2021.
Other organisations we've worked with
- Artesia consulting
- The British Library
- British School at Rome
- Dicey Tech
- Direct-Path Consulting
- Imagine Me Stories
- In Place of War
- LGBT Foundation
- Manchester Histories
- The National Archives
- Manchester City of Literature
- Manchester Urban Diggers
- She Leads for Legacy
- Tate Liverpool
- Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy
- Tracy Simpson Financial Consultancy
- The Working Class Movement Library