University Knowledge Exchange projects benefiting from recent Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) funding

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The University’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy 2020-30 positions Knowledge Exchange for mutual benefit as a key priority, focussed on the exchange of knowledge and expertise with groups and individuals throughout society. This focus is reflected in three key areas of engagement: business and professionals, communities, and student engagement and employability.

Current trends that align with areas of expertise across our faculties can be broadly categorised as follows:

  • SME & Business Collaboration, with a particular focus on Responsible Management
  • Staff & Student Enterprise, with a particular focus on Social Enterprise
  • Civic & Community Engagement, with a particular focus on Covid Recovery

The University has recently received funding from Research England through the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). A range of new projects has benefited from this funding. Explore the sections below to find out more about these important projects that reflect and underpin our institutional mission to make a difference for people and planet.

2017-18 Knowledge Exchange projects

Broadly Engaging with Tranquillity Easy and Refined (BETER)

Principal Investigator: Prof. Denise Hewlett, Professor of Knowledge Exchange

BETER is a software product, developed in collaboration with Keene State College (US), and with staff at Dorset and Kent Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and teams from Dorset and Kent County Councils. The purpose of the software is to provide a spatial planning tool for planners and managers of protected landscapes, producing maps in up to 15 minutes. BETER is currently being provided free of charge to interested Local Authorities. The project will lead to time and cost savings in statutory planning duties whilst endorsing the protection and maintenance of tranquil areas. Find out more about the BETER project.

Key achievements

• The software design has been completed and is undergoing further 'in situ' testing with the County Councils named above
• The software has provided data which has already informed Dorset CC’s environmental protection strategies
• In Kent, the software is being used to aid the implementation of the Darent Valley Heritage Lottery Funding project
• The project has been promoted to practitioners and academics at the National Association of AONBs and to the Royal Geographic Society

The CEDI Clinic Programme

Project lead: Dr John Richardson, Senior Lecturer in Innovation Management

The Centre for Enterprise, Design and innovation, Co-Directed by Dr Richardson, aims to foster collaboration between local businesses and University of Winchester students by developing business diagnostic toolkits. These would be available for trained University students to use in partnership with local businesses. The project aims were to increase the employability of UoW students by providing them with real-world experience of research and analysis. The project also aimed to help local businesses identify areas for improvement/skills gaps to overcome barriers to growth and sustainability. A further objective of the project was to increase the opportunities for engagement between the UoW and businesses in the areas of consultancy, advisory services as well as teaching and learning prospects.

Key achievements

• Development of six new business diagnostic toolkits
• The addition of new assets to add capability to the CEDI Clinic (including Virtual Reality headsets, Augmented Reality headsets, large scale 3D printer and advanced display touch screen monitor)
• The creation of a dedicated KE space at the University (The Digital Innovation Lab) for student/business engagement with meeting facilities, a creative digital workspace and demonstration/presentation facilities
• The establishment of connections with student cohorts, University staff, local businesses, councils and public bodies

Dr Richardson was awarded follow-up University HEIF funding for 2018-19. This was used to expand the technical capabilities to cover a greater range of project types and business needs. In particular:

  • the addition of an advanced Resin-based 3D printing system, designed for very fine work such as models, jewellery, medical products and high-tech engineering components
  • 'green screen’ capability, for image capture/processing and for use in Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality film capture
  • prototype ‘Haptic Gloves’, to enable enhanced hand control gesture control in highly detailed applications (in development)

Winchester HydroNet

Principal Investigator: Prof. Keith Wilkinson, Professor of Geoarchaeology

The institution’s focus on sustainability and the environment aligns with the NERC’s focus on building resilience to environmental hazards, particularly in flood prevention techniques. Winchester HydroNet will establish eight groundwater monitoring stations on the River Itchen floodplain to the north and south of Winchester. Data collected will be used by Winchester City Council for planning purposes, by the Environment agency for flood prevention and management, by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) and by the University of Winchester for knowledge exchange, teaching and research. Once installed the net will provide an exemplar for flood prediction and planning and heritage management.

Key achievements

• Monitoring hardware has been purchased
• Agreement has been reached with WCC and HIWWT for placement of three of the monitoring stations
• Stratigraphic data has been collated into a single database. This is being used by WCC as part of the Historic Environment Record to inform planning decisions
• Ongoing consultations on the siting of the remaining monitoring stations

A Digital Infrastructure for Hampshire Health

Project lead: Prof. Simon Jobson, Professor of Health and Wellbeing

This project builds on an existing partnership between the University of Winchester and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), known as the Hampshire Collaboration for Health Research and Education (HCHRE). The main aim of this project was to incorporate a digital strand to the partnership’s infrastructure to enhance health provision across Hampshire Hospitals alongside further research and education opportunities.

Key achievements

• Design of HCHRE website
• Digital media scoping workshops
• Installation of a patient-facing electronic health record

Mapping Memory in the East End/Sensing Place

Co-Investigators: Dr Niall Finneran, Reader in Historical Archaeology and heritage Studies and Dr Christina Welch, Reader in Theology, Religion and Philosophy

This project aims to develop a digital heritage app which can be used in a variety of educational and non‐educational settings by people of a variety of age ranges and cultural backgrounds. The emphasis of the project was upon community engagement, seeking to facilitate positive implications for developing digital literacy and enhanced skillsets for employability. The project was set up in partnership with local schools and sixth form colleges, a local church and the local history and community learning centre.

Key achievements

• Gathered data and basis for the digital app
• Developed a website to work alongside the app (visit the Sensing Place website)
• Worked with schools and heritage institutions to embed community heritage in the locale
• Developed plans for a Community Heritage Consultancy

2018-19 Knowledge Exchange projects

HELP (Health Enhancing Lifestyle Programme) Hampshire Stroke Clinic

Project lead: Dr James Faulkner, Reader in Sport & Exercise Physiology

The HELP Hampshire Stroke Clinic is a community-based exercise and education programme for patients from the Hampshire area who have suffered from strokes or Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIAs). Currently, only wealthy patients are able to attend private neurophysiotherapy sessions after being discharged. This initiative therefore aims to offer such opportunities to those individuals who cannot afford these treatments, to help with the debilitating physical/cognitive/social post-stroke effects. 

Since the creation of the programme in March 2019, HELP Hampshire has received 120 patient referrals from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. During COVID-19 the programme moved online, with both screening assessments and the exercise programme successfully delivered remotely.

Extension funding was granted in 2019-20 to:

  • Develop social support groups in collaboration with the Stroke Association
  • Provide additional exercise opportunities to clients in collaboration with Winchester City Council
  • Continue to deliver exercise classes in accessible community locations
  • Continue to engage with Hobbs rehabilitation for assessing health assessments and delivering exercise classes
  • Look to develop other exercise classes outside Winchester to increase opportunities for the wider Hampshire community.

Find out more about HELP Hampshire

Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms within Criminal Justice

Project lead: Marion Oswald, Senior Fellow of Knowledge Exchange and Founding Director, Centre for Information Rights

Now completed, this project aimed to build upon existent and ongoing research/KE into the potential impact of introducing machine learning algorithmic support tools into criminal justice decision-making.

Key achievements

A network of researchers/practitioners/policy-makers has been built nationally and internationally, who have exchanged evidence and ideas in a workshop environment to deepen understanding of how to achieve trusted innovation within criminal justice.

A report of the project has been produced; download the project report.

Stormbreak: inspiring movement for positive mental health in primary schools

Project lead: Dr Vicky Randall, Senior Lecturer in Education (Teacher Development)

Stormbreak aims to bring together multidisciplinary experts across education/health/sport/business to improve children’s mental health and wellbeing through movement. It will equip children with sustainable skills and coping strategies to deal with growth into adulthood. Teachers will be enabled to encourage mentally healthy movement throughout the school day. The project is focussed on school cultural change, through working with stakeholders to ensure training and resources provided to schools is sustainable. The funding supported the project’s start-up, and enabled the team to obtain charitable status and grow into a sustainable model, offering professional development and cultural change consultancy. Visit the Stormbreak webpage.

Stanmore Walking Football Club

Initiated by former Senior Lecturer in Education Alastair Loadman and supported by University of Winchester students (many of whom live in Stanmore), this walking football club for older residents of the Stanmore estate in Winchester has been delivering significant social, psychological and physiological health benefits. It is currently run by community members who are aiming to formalise the work by building relationships with national walking football associations and societies.

Inspiring Enterprise Programme

Project lead: Lindsey Birtwhistle, Inspiring Enterprise Project Officer

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund (ESF), the University is one of the partners in Inspiring Enterprise within which the project Building Better Opportunities programme sits. The team works with unemployed and economically inactive graduates to help those interested in creating and running their own social or commercial enterprise.

The funding was used to continue the student enterprise programme, started in April 2017. The initiative was funded by Building Better Opportunities until December 2019. The project supported and guided students and unemployed graduates who wanted to start a business or work freelance with a range of skill/knowledge development workshops  as well as 6 hours of mentoring from an entrepreneur.

Extension funding was granted in 2019-20 to:

• Establish mentoring relationships with experienced entrepreneurs for students who would not qualify for support through the Inspiring Enterprise Project
• orgnaise workshops/careers sessions targeting all Winchester students
• To contribute directly to the work of the Inspiring Enterprise Project helping 150 students and graduates
• To continue to provide students with the enterprise skills and knowledge to transition into the workplace in graduate level roles, through collaboration with local established businesses and entrepreneurs.

Key achievements

To date, we have recruited 100 participants, held 80 workshops and created 52 mentor/mentee relationships. We have so far seen 20 of our participants (20%) start their own business or create a community interest company, with many others planning to do so once they have graduated.


2019-20 Knowledge Exchange projects

In 2019-20, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the University's Research and Knowledge Exchange Centre focussed on providing HEIF extension funding to the 2018-19 projects; see above for details.

2020-21 Knowledge Exchange projects

The latest crop of innovative projects supported by the University with HEIF funding have particularly strong Student Engagement, Social Justice, Sustainability and Covid Recovery profiles.

SMEs leading by example: discussing successes and challenges meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Project lead: Dr Simon Smith, Convener of the Hoare Centre for Responsible Management

SDGs are both important and challenging for all organisations, but for SMEs it can be particularly tricky to embed strategic change, without the time and resources to support it. The University's Hoare Centre for Responsible Management is facilitating dialogue between academics and SMEs to share practice and develop and inspire thought, action and solutions to improve SMEs' business practice in terms of sustainable development and to increase their achievement levels with regard to the SDGs.

Key achievements

The project has led to the organisation of an online symposium on 8 June 2021. To find out more, visit the Hoare Centre for Responsible Management website.

Supporting digitally creative students in enhancing their employability and enterprise skills

Project lead: Dr John Richardson, Senior Lecturer in Innovation Management and Co-Director, Centre for Enterprise, Design and Innovation (CEDI)

This project is designed to enable digitally creative UoW students to showcase their ideas, content and capabilities to a global industry audience and develop income streams by offering creative digital content for sale and licence. Through the University's Centre for Enterprise, Design & Innovation (CEDI), students will also have the opportunity to develop bespoke assets for local creative industry businesses and organisations.

HEIF funding will be used to purchase an Enterprise level access licence to SketchFab, a service designed to allow users to buy and sell 3D models. Users can share their creative digital content with a global market via SketchFab's online store. This service not only provides a global showcase for the talents of the creative students at the University of Winchester, but also enables them to generate revenues, protect their Intellectual Property and develop their entrepreneurial skills and talent.

Social entrepreneurship training for British Rwandans

Project lead: Dr Jen Dickinson, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

The 2019-2020 Rwanda Diaspora Youth Partnership Programme, co-led by Dr Dickinson, was an interdisciplinary collaborative project working to help Rwandan youths and UK youths of Rwandan background to work together to build a better future for Rwanda. The project found that the social enterprise model can be an effective means of bridging home and residence countries, creating jobs, addressing social problems and developing youth leadership. It also contributes to civic development in Rwanda and amongst UK Rwandan communities, who are economically and socially marginalised. However, a lack of community role models was identified, which is detrimental to British Rwandan social and economic empowerment and has contributed to the continued marginalisation of second-generation Rwandans.

HEIF funding was awarded to develop a training programme in social entrepreneurship, in collaboration with the Aegis Trust and social enterprise ESOK (English for Speakers of Kinyarwanda), to enable young British Rwandans to develop the skills and confidence necessary to adopt this much needed role of community leadership, and to develop British Rwandan diaspora entrepreneurship for the social and economic empowerment of the wider Rwandan community in the UK.

Heritage as social action: enhancing young people's engagement with National Trust assets

Project Lead: Prof. Niall Finneran, Professor of Historical Archaeology and Heritage Studies

A collaboration between Prof. Finneran, Dr Joe Flatman (Royal Society) and CHaRM student Clare Alderson (Research Assistant), this study aims to gauge how a cross section of children from schools in Portsmouth and Southampton engage with National Trust cultural and natural heritage assets in central southern England. The project will assess the children's educational provision as it stands and design and devise new ways, linked to the National Curriculum, to promote the use of the NT's assets to enhance physical and mental wellbeing post-Covid. Project outcomes will have potential implications for the development of NT policy around such educational engagement.

Phase 1 of the project has now been completed; it focussed on an audit of accessibility and effectiveness of the key educational provisions (online and physical) at several sites across the study area. The study drew attention to a number of issues, such as accessibility for children with special educational needs, availability of hands-on experiences and relevance to pupils from non-British backgrounds. This phase of work will help kickstart the process of local policy change in the NT and a rethinking of their educational outreach strategy in terms of building better engagement and accessibility.

Find out more about natural and cultural heritage management research and knowledge exchange at Winchester.

The role of outdoor performances in a post-pandemic world

Project Lead: Dr Noyale Colin, Convener of the Centre for Performance Practice and Research

A collaboration between Dr Colin, John Lee (Visiting Knowledge Exchange Fellow, University of Winchester), Sally Mann (Fuse Somerset Outdoor Arts) and Andrew Loretto (Theatre Royal Winchester).

Within the wider context of the impact of Covid-19 on the future of performances and the performing industries, and the rapid growth of digitalisation of practices, this project aims to create a resource for artists, researchers, policy makers, practitioners and the wider public: a regional webinar for invited academics, practitioners and policy makers, followed by a series of podcasts offering extended dialogues. Conversation topics will include the role of the High Street and city/town centre in regeneration, and the role of cultural activities in animating these public spaces and supporting local businesses. The project will enable a process of negotiation between different stake holders, including local councils, to consider how the public might safely re-enter public spaces and how new post-pandemic regulation might be developed in dialogue with creative projects to benefit local communities as they recover from the effects of the pandemic. The team is currently working on a webinar, blog and podcast.

Psychology Knowledge Exchange Internships

Project Leads: Prof. Paul Sowden and Dr Rachel Wilcock

The Psychology Department's is keen to open up its wide-ranging expertise to community partners and to involve students in this. Starting in the summer of 2021, this scheme offers external organisations the opportunity to benefit from Psychology's expertise and state of the art reseources, while offering students the chance to be involved in real-world research and enhance their skills and employability. To find out more, download the 2021 Psychology Knowledge Exchange Internship Scheme flyer.

Rapid changes in the food and farming sector related to meat alternatives

Dr Steven McCullochCentre for Animal Welfare

Globally, around 130 million chickens and 4 million pigs are slaughtered for meat each day. The rapid intensification of agriculture in the twentieth century and current levels of meat consumption are not sustainable. Livestock farming produces around 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions, causes pollution and contributes to the development of antimicrobial resistance, while modern intensive farming causes suffering to billions of sentient animals.

In collaboration with our partner Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) and with key student involvement, this Centre for Animal Welfare project aims to investigate and promote the UK food and farming and life sciences sectors that embrace meat alternatives and cultured meat, in light of the environmental gains and enhanced human and animal wellbeing that a switch from intensively reared meat to meat alternatives will bring.

2021-22 Knowledge Exchange projects

In 2021-22, the University's Knowledge Exchange team supported a large number and wide range of exciting projects. From networking and launch events to KE tool and short course development and student KE, and from mental health to sustainable management.