University of Glasgow celebrates first Knowledge Exchange Awards
Outstanding knowledge exchange successes were celebrated at the University’s Knowledge Exchange Conference in the Kelvin Hall on 6th October. The awards recognised and celebrated the exchange of knowledge, expertise and intellectual assets for the wider benefit of society and the economy through engagement with industry, the public sector and community partners.
The winners were:
- Business Engagement Award – Professor Marc Sorel from the School of Engineering, who has worked in partnership with Gas Sensing Solutions to produce new products for CO2 and methane sensing.. The exploitation of these products has enabled the company to enter three new markets (healthcare, aerospace and hydrocarbon) and grow market share by 30%. This partnership included a highly rated Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme, industrial case studentships, Innovate and Scottish Enterprise funding and more recently the creation of the Mirage consortium to win £6m funding.
- Societal Engagement Award – Professor Chris Williams from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing for ‘Living Life to the Full’, an accessible form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help people facing common mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety. The workbooks, online resources and classes have been accessed throughout the UK and hundreds of thousands of people have been supported using the approach. This has been achieved through working in partnership with the NHS, Scottish Prison Service and charities such as Action on Depression, Aware, RNIB Mind Cymru and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
- International Knowledge Exchange Award – Dr Heather Ferguson, Nosrat Mirzai and the Bioelectronics team within the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences. The enormous threat posed to both human and animal health by mosquito-borne diseases led this team to set out to develop a better solution to the traditional surveillance method of recoding mosquito biting activity. Working in partnership with colleagues at the Ifakara Health Institute Tanzania, the team developed a new Mosquito Electrocuting Trap to provide safe, exposure free, sampling of biting activity. Prototypes have been trialled not only in Tanzania, but in Ecuador, Columbia, Haiti, Burkino Faso and India.
Professor Rory O’Connor, Institute of Health and Wellbeing received the Societal Engagement Commendation for the development of the Integrated Motivational-Volitional model of suicide behaviour and his work with third sector organisation on suicide prevention. Suicide is the leading killer of young and middle aged men in the UK, and across the world some 800,000 commit suicide each year. Over the last 5 years the outcomes of this work has been used to help train thousands of support workers and volunteers in the UK and as far afield as Australia and has significantly helped to develop a much better understanding of the issues surrounding a topic that people are often frightened and reluctant to talk about.
Dr Jan Culik and Dr Mirna Solic, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, received the International KE Commendation for their partnership with the Human Rights Watch. The project uncovered the abuse and intimidation of Syrian refugees which was extensively reported in the European media and within 48hr hours, led to the Czech government reversing its policy of marking refuges with numbers and detaining them in camps at the refugees expense. Whilst the refugee crisis is far from resolved, this project has made an significant difference to large number of individuals and families.
The awards closed the third annual KE Conference, which brought together over 180 academic staff from across the four Colleges of the University. The programme had a marked emphasis on engagement as a significant pathway to impact, as set out in the new University Strategy (2015-2020) and provided participants, through workshops, with a broad overview of the practicalities surrounding the Impact Agenda that has permeated through the Higher Education sector, particularly in light of the recent Stern Review.
As well as offering practical advice and support for KE activities, there was also opportunity for delegates to network with other university staff and external delegates such as keynote speaker Alison Campbell of Knowledge Transfer Ireland; Simon Wakefield, Head of Research & Knowledge Exchange at the Scottish Parliament; Dr Laura Meagher, Senior Partner at the Technology Development Group and Andrew Howie, Director of Commercialisation Programmes at Scottish Enterprise. The choice of venue also gave delegates the opportunity to explore the extensive digital resources that are held within the National Library of Scotland’s world class collections at the Kelvin Hall.
Professor Jon Cooper, Vice-Principal of Knowledge Exchange, said, “ The KE Conference is a celebration of the excellent knowledge exchange activities of our world-class academic and research staff and the opportunity for colleagues to learn best practice approaches to lead to demonstrable impacts. I was delighted with the calibre of entries to the first Knowledge Exchange Awards and would like to congratulate the winners for their outstanding achievements.”
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First published: 7 October 2016