Keele University launches new student-led knowledge exchange project

Keele University has launched a new project to develop innovative approaches to student-led knowledge exchange.

The project, Student Knowledge Exchange Re-imagined - Removing Barriers, Engaging Communities, will boost engagement in knowledge exchange activities for students (with some opportunities for recent graduates to engage), increasing students' confidence, social capital, and employability.

The project, led by the Keele Institute for Innovation and Teaching Excellence (KIITE) with support from the University of Birmingham, is the result of over £920,000 funding from the Office for Students and Research England. Building on the Keele Research and Innovation Support Programme (KRISP) and University of Birmingham programmes, the project will develop successful, complementary approaches to knowledge exchange, prioritising disadvantaged students, community engaged learning, and digital delivery.

The project will develop best practice and expertise in the delivery of knowledge exchange through a set of initiatives including civic internships, student consultancies, virtual placements, international opportunities, enterprise bootcamps, challenges and funding, curriculum design that embeds student knowledge exchange and development of an impact tool.

The project can fund students to undertake 55-hour virtual micro student internships, to help tackle business projects and challenges across the two years of funding. Alongside developing their skills and experience, students undertaking an internship will be paid a bursary of £500 upon completion.

Terry Dray, Director for Employability and Employer Engagement at Keele University comments:


“In addition to developing students’ employability and expertise, this project will also benefit businesses and non-profit organisations across the UK and abroad, offering access to Keele and University of Birmingham talent at no cost, at a time when many businesses and organisations may be struggling and many have furloughed staff. This will help businesses and organisations to innovate, improve efficiencies and expand their market and offering.” 


The project will also propose an evaluative framework tool to analyse the impact of student-led knowledge exchanges.

An impact tool will be designed and tested to help to measure the impact of this activity on organisations and businesses to help shape future opportunities, whilst realising the difference made within organisations in and beyond the locality of the institution.

Nick Muir, Project Co-ordinator for the Student Knowledge Exchange Project comments: 


“We will be supporting student enterprise, offering a range of business boot camps and enterprise challenges, alongside our expert support. We will also be offering cash grants to help students turn their ideas into businesses and to help our entrepreneurs to grow their business. This will help our entrepreneurs stand the best chance of succeeding.” 


The project will share findings across the Higher Education sector, demonstrating what works, focusing on sustainability, regional economic impact, and delivering external benefits such as enhanced employability for students, and solutions to business challenges.

Students can sign up to the new Talent Pool, an area for students to register an interest in internships offered across the university. Opportunities will be promoted to students who have registered for the Talent Pool, ensuring those who sign up are kept up to date with opportunities to develop their employability and skills.

For more information, visit the project website: