KT and me...
I came on board as the new AHRC Knowledge Transfer Programme Manager last November as the 8 KEP projects were drawing to an end. Having heard so much about this high profile partnership during my time in other posts at the AHRC I was excited to hear that Sue and Rowena were planning to make a further injection of funding available to extend existing projects. As I began to learn about just some of the fantastic findings and outputs that the research teams were producing, it became clear that the added value this Knowledge Infusion funding could bring was immense.
For AHRC, this was not only an opportunity to further support these teams in developing innovative research and knowledge exchange practices but also to highlight the real and demonstrable impact that the outcomes of such research can have for stakeholders far beyond our own community. It would be great if this supplementary funding means seeing actual policy change at the BBC to reflect these research findings, some of which have been revelatory.
Having begun to get to know the academic award holders for the scheme and see their final reports it has also become apparent just how beneficial its been for them to have had unprecedented access to BBC resources as a result of the KEP. Knowledge Exchange is a relatively new concept for AHRC and its communities and, in a competitive research climate, increasingly important as a key strategic area. I hope that we can support these projects, through the Knowledge Infusion funding and in other ways, in embedding not only their research findings but also their knowledge of working in this way within their own research cultures. If we can go some way towards raising the profile of our Knowledge Transfer Team's activities, encourage interest among our academic communities and raise demand from stakeholders in the user community I will be very happy. Lucky I'm not asking for much!
The AHRC's Vision and Strategy 2007 - 2012 aims to position the AHRC to meet the opportunities and challenges it faces as a Research Council and to provide direction for the spending review period 2008 - 2010 and beyond. Knowledge Transfer forms a core element of this vision as outlined specifically in the AHRC's Strategic Aim 3:
'To strengthen the impact of arts and humanities research by encouraging researchers to disseminate and transfer their knowledge to other areas where it can make a difference'
KT, as the AHRC understand it, refers to the processes by which new knowledge is co-produced through interactions between academic and non-academic individuals and communities. This includes innovative activity brought about by the application of existing knowledge to new contexts. AHRC's interpretation of KT assumes that the new knowledge that is created through such engagements delivers significant added value for both the academic and non-academic partners.
An important element of AHRC's KT strategy is the need for us to build and sustain strategic partnerships and the flagship Knowledge Exchange Programme with the BBC, as well as supporting a number of fantastic projects, has been fundamental to our development in this area.
Knowledge Infusion funding - the call
Last November the AHRC and the BBC committed to making further joint funding available to support proposals to infuse co-produced knowledge and outcomes from projects funded under the Knowledge Exchange Programme (KEP) into both academia and the BBC. Applicants were asked to indicate impact for both project partners in the form of in depth, targeted or niche research arising from the original projects and which may also produce pilots or prototypes. Activities under this initiative will specifically embed the research findings of individual KEP projects in a way which spreads their impact beyond that initially envisaged at the project outset.
5 applications were successful in their bids for this supplementary funding;
What do Children Want from the BBC? Children's Content and Participatory Environments in an Age of Citizen Media
Principle Investigator: Cynthia Carter (Cardiff University)
BBC Partner: Roy Milani (BBC Childrens)
Activity: Examining BBC news provision for teenagers. What exists (and what should exist) for the delivery of current affairs for individuals caught between children's and adult content.
Key Deliverable: Report and events outlining recommendations/strategies for the provision of multi-platform news content for teens
Public Service Virtual environments and their Users
Principle Investigator: David Gauntlett (University of Westminster)
BBC Partner: Rachel Bardill (CBBCi)
Activity: Examining the different personas or "player orientations" that children adopt when in virtual multi-user environments and the drivers for their decisions.
Key Deliverable: Models of possible multi-user public service virtual environments
Easing the Inhibitions of Older Viewer's Exploration of Digital TV
Principle Investigator: Stephen Payne (University of Bath)
BBC Partner: Maxine Glancy (BBC R&D)
Activity: Exploring the behavior of older consumers with respect to Digital TV - their inhibitions and their reasons for choosing to engage with digital services or not.
Key Deliverable: Production of an EPG prototype for impaired users
Principle Investigator: Helen Thornham (City University)
BBC Partner: John Millner (BBC Learning Formal)
Activity: Examining BBC provisions for online learning environments and UGC. Looking at how teens view online creativity.
Key Deliverable: Direct feed into the redesign and re-launch of the BBC Blast initiative including reports, pod/vidcasts and seminars.
Open Archive Project - The Miners Strike: A case study in regional content
Principle Investigator: Simon Popple (University of Leeds)
BBC Partner: Heather Powell (BBC Information and Archives North)
Activity: Bringing together those in the North of England affected by the Miners Strike and BBC journalists to explore the ongoing ramifications that the reporting of sensitive events can pose to a broadcaster.
Key Deliverable: A website that allows the affected groups to select and curate materials to provide a web based account of the miners strike in its first year
The research methods used by David Gauntlett and Lizzie Jackson of University of Westminster can be found at the Artlab site.
The new BBC Blast site, which includes the first stage of recommendations from Angela McFarlane's Alone Together study, can be found here.