We are committed to knowledge exchange and encouraging collaboration between researchers and business, public and civil society. By creating a dialogue between these communities, knowledge exchange helps research to influence policy and practice.

Knowledge exchange - what social scientists do

In 2016 we commissioned the Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge to analyse the knowledge exchange and external interactions of social science academics in the UK between 2012-2015.

The report breaks down activities by academic position/seniority, gender, age and research motivations as well as the extent to which knowledge exchange activities are carried out within or outside of the university's region.

Exploring co-production

In 2016, the N8 Research Partnership completed a study to explore new models of ‘co-production’. The project investigated:

  • what constitutes co-production and what distinguishes it from other forms of research
  • what makes co-production effective
  • what are the benefits and barriers of co-production
  • how quality and rigour can be ensured in co-production research
  • if there are differences in perception between academics and non-academics regarding what constitutes effective co-production
  • if research can be both critical and practical
  • what is required to facilitate effective co-production

The final report was launched in May 2016 at the University of Sheffield and has been used by the ESRC to inform the way we work, including the recommendations in our impact toolkit.

Five lessons for collaborative research

The Connected Communities programme funded over 300 projects, bringing together over 700 academics and 500 collaborating organisations.

The programme pulled out some key points for what you need to consider when preparing the foundations for successful collaborative ventures.