Maximising Impact of EPSRC: Workshop for 60 academic and industry participants

The first EPSRC funded Impact Acceleration Account day took place on May 8th in the event space at LICA. The event was designed to encourage collaborations that will bring to life and increase the impact of research and encourage the development of a series of robust and fundable collaborative proposals. To assist in this IAA has secured the services of Dee Hennesy, a skilled facilitator and PhD student in Imagination to assist in the delivery of IAA and also to use these activites as a platform for her PhD project.

Of the 57 who attended, more than half came from existing or potential industry partners, and the rest were academic staff from across the university. They came together to learn more about the qualities of such partnerships, to consider each other’s perspectives, to test some new ideas and some new ways of working with people, and to further build their collaborative proposals. This Imagination Lab is the first of a series that will be delivered to diverse research communities and industry sectors over the next eighteen months, with the intention of cultivating a more dynamic, connected and collaborative community of researchers and external partners.

The day was delivered through a fast paced format of cross-cut task groups and constituency based teams exploring and challenging issues and possibilities. A particular feature of the event was the use of bespoke digital tools designed by the ImaginationLancaster project – New Ideas. This innovative approach to knowledge exchange enabled the participants anonymously to contribute and collectively to benefit from an exploration of the value of collaboration as perceived by both academics and industry.

There were many outcomes from the event and within days we will know how many of the proposals have been successful in securing funding.

Another tangible take away from the day was the consensus arrived at when considering how to approach and manage collaborations. This process produced ten actions for the academics and industry partners to remember when thinking about successful, high impact research:

– Open communication

– The value of relationships

– Embrace the common goal

– Take time in each other’s zones

– Understand each other’s agendas and goals early

– Exchange instead of transfer

– The availability of facilities for small businesses

– Meld perspectives

– Feed back into the student loop

– Get on and do it!