PGR 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 in engaging 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.

Contact us if you would like to collaborate with us by proposing a collaborative project. 

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Why Knowledge Exchange?

Knowledge Exchange (KE) 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” (AHRC 2019 Delivery Plan, p. 5).

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 of 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 for a researcher to broaden the scope and possibilities of their PhD, since it opens the door to developing new contacts in the field, bringing new insights into their 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 the 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: e.g. 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: patenting, licensing, spin-outs and business consultancy.
  • People-based: e.g. 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: e.g. joint research and/or publications with external organisations; consultancy services; contract research; secondment to external organisations; prototyping and testing; 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.