Essex researchers are being invited to take part in a survey which will help identify best practice and potential barriers to knowledge exchange and community-engaged research and innovation.

It will also investigate what motivates research staff to actively engage in knowledge exchange activities. All academic staff across YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe) are invited to take part in the survey, regardless of the type of research they have carried out, as the project team wants to capture the diversity of knowledge exchange experiences of all academics.

The survey will be carried out with the help of the Academic Motivations and Supports (AMS) toolkit - an online questionnaire developed by Professor Suma Athreye from the University of Essex’s Essex Business School to capture and better understand how much individual researchers feel supported by their institution and the barriers to conducting knowledge exchange of all kinds.

“As an academic, I know we all join our profession with different motivations,” explained Professor Athreye. “Some like the intellectual challenge of a problem, others enjoy the interaction with peers about important research questions, and still others love the interaction with the next generation and teaching what they know.

“Taking part in this survey is an excellent opportunity for researchers to communicate how supported they feel by their department and their university in their knowledge exchange endeavours and to suggest and influence how knowledge exchange and community-based research activities could be best supported in the future.”

Over the next ten months, survey responses from academic staff at all participating universities will be analysed to help identify best practice approaches and potential barriers to knowledge exchange and community engagement-based research and innovation.

The outcome of the project will be a set of recommendations that will outline best practice to encourage and support knowledge exchange (including community engagement-based research) and will include feedback on required support structures and policies for research and innovation across all participating universities.

This should lead to more effective knowledge exchange for researchers leading to impact in the ‘real world’. The survey results will feed into a report which will summarise existing research and innovation support services and policies as well as decision-making bodies across the ten universities in YUFE.

The survey is part of the YUFERING project which is funded by the Horizon 2020 scheme Science with and for Society and aims to fulfil YUFE’s vision for research and innovation by developing a community engagement-based research and innovation approach that is a scalable and effective model with impact for a European University.

The University of Cyprus, the coordinator of YUFERING, welcomes the initiation of the survey, since it will be a key step and milestone in the effort of mapping the existing situation of research support structures, services and policies and recording the problems and challenges that academics face in implementing community-engaged research and innovation (R&I). Furthermore, it will enable the consortium to take actions in the future towards engaging the community in research and innovation activities either through systematic focus of the R&I activities on societal challenges or through the direct involvement of the community in co-creation processes that serve common purposes.

The survey should only take a max of 20mins and is available here.