Knowledge Exchange Fellow

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics


The Department of Physics has a very large and diverse portfolio of STFC-funded research, as part of a wider programme of research activity supported by many funding agencies. Some of this research has already found application elsewhere, in both other academic disciplines (e.g. engineering and chemistry) and commercial development (e.g. metrology and radiofrequency devices), but much has potential yet to be fully explored. The University has an active technology transfer office, Oxford University Innovation (OUI), which can assist in patent applications, licensing, spin-out companies and consulting once a customer or market is identified and the technology has reached proof of concept. However, the majority of new applications for our research, and for collaborative research projects with industry, require a close, direct knowledge of our portfolio, an understanding of the challenges to commercialisation from physics, as well as dedicated time and effort to explore potential opportunities. An IPS Fellow based in the department has played a unique role in increasing our knowledge exchange in both scope and extent, transforming our ability to transfer technology to and from other domains. The Department of Physics is part of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division of the University, and thus this role has synergies with complementary activities in MPLS, including training activities for staff and students in enterprise and entrepreneurship and support for managing large industry-funded research programmes. The University also has a Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team within its Research Services office, which supports University-wide activity, such as administering research council Impact Acceleration Accounts, liaising with stakeholders such as the Local Economic Partnership and coordinating communication of impact case studies. The Fellow is key to ensuring STFC-funded research as well as staff and students funded by STFC are recognised and supported to achieve impact by these wider support teams.

Like most Physics Departments, Oxford faces challenges in the pursuit of realising impact from its research, some of which are more prevalent in the STFC community. It is here, where the Oxford IPS Fellow is having the most significant influence. STFC-funded research projects often begin and end at lower Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) compared to those funded by other research councils and are not, generally, aimed at specific applications beyond academia. This makes understanding the Pathways to Impact of a research project a particular challenge for the academic and consequently reduces the probability of non-academic impact arising from the work. The two Oxford Fellows in post to date have been able to address this disadvantage before projects are started, as well during and after a project has ended, by using their professional experience of knowledge exchange and their dedicated resource.

This application requests the two year extension to the Oxford IPS Fellowship.


10 25 50
Description see case studies submitted
Exploitation Route see case studies submitted
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy

Description Case studies have been submitted to STFC
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Economic

Description STFC IAA
Amount £1,760 (GBP)
Organisation University of Oxford 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 12/2018
Description Enterprising Women 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The event was aimed at increasing awareness of women in enterprise roles and encouraging participation by women researchers in knowledge exchange and commercialisation activities. 50 people attended to listen to a female Physics alumni who has started her own company.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Oxford Space Industry Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Oxford Physics hosted the inaugural Oxford Space Research Network Industry Day on 27th September 2018, with over 170 delegates registered from the Space industry and across the university.
he purpose of the day was to:

Showcase Oxford University research and innovation of relevance to the space sector
Collaborate with partners (e.g. ESA, RAL Space and the Satellite Applications Catapult) in showcasing our joint capabilities
Enable Oxford University researchers to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by the space sector
Enable potential collaborations between Oxford University researchers and the space sector to be initiated

The audience for the day was:

Industry and government representatives involved in space research and innovation
Spin-out companies and start-ups interested in working in the space sector
Researchers currently involved in space research, or in adjacent technology areas of potential importance to space, who want to showcase their work and develop collaborations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018