Translating UK knowledge and research into impact: Physiology and Knowledge Exchange

Translating UK knowledge and research into impact: Physiology and Knowledge Exchange

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There is no doubt that research makes a huge contribution to society and the economy well beyond the laboratory. We welcome UKRI’s 2020-21 Corporate Plan which emphasises collaboration across disciplines and challenges, stating that ‘the research and innovation system is complex and multidimensional and must be considered holistically’.1 In order to ensure that the UK is best placed to lead the response to future challenges, now is the time to foster networks between universities, industry and the whole R&D ecosystem. By focusing investment on improving these partnerships, we will convene and catalyse the interdisciplinary networks essential to knowledge exchange to maximise its societal and economic benefit.

Physiology, as a key interdisciplinary science, is central to understanding the human body in health and disease. Producing this report in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, where clinicians and physiologists have worked closely together to battle this novel virus, makes the importance of this exchange of knowledge clearer than ever.

It is to the credit of this project’s Advisory Group, the academics across the country who provided case studies and the knowledge exchange professionals in higher education institutions across the UK who contributed institutional data, that we have been able to reflect the breadth of physiology and provide a snapshot of the UK’s physiology-related knowledge exchange.

It has been a real privilege for The Physiological Society and The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) to be involved in co-creating a project as innovative and unique as this. This project highlights the value that learned societies bring to civil society beyond the benefits they offer their membership.

The project demonstrates a new way of benchmarking a specific discipline against previous national approaches to understanding knowledge exchange among the academic community. It showcases the variety and value of knowledge exchange, as well as highlighting the need to ensure that universities and businesses alike recognise the importance of – and nurture - collaboration across sectors.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the academic system, impacting on every aspect of an institution’s life, and we are extremely grateful to all the members of our Advisory Group, the academics and the institutions who have contributed to this report.

25th January 2021.

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