At the end of 2010, UCL’s Office of the Vice-Provost (Enterprise) ran an internal competition to identify several Knowledge Transfer (KT) Champions across the institute.
‘KT Champions will distinguish themselves as leaders of knowledge transfer and research impact within their field, and contribute to UCL’s enterprise strategy as a whole… The activities of a KT Champion will include: (i) leading others through their own knowledge transfer work; (ii) building an understanding of opportunities and relations within their area and facilitating the growth of projects and partnerships; and (iii) supporting colleagues in developing their own knowledge transfer portfolios. KT Champions will be proactive and visionary in working with their counterparts and UCL Enterprise to develop the UCL enterprise strategy.’
Based on my work in setting up Mapping for Change and securing the UnLtd HE Development Award, I felt it was important that the area of Social Enterprise will be represented within the range of activities that KT Champions cover.
After a successful application, I am starting 2011 as the KT Champion in the area of Social Enterprise. During the coming year, I aim to develop this area within the wider UCL community. The activities that will be carried out over the year include: an implementation plan based on the findings from the Perception Mapping project in which the community that surrounds UCL told us what connection they would like to have with UCL; identifying existing third sector work at UCL – publicising it, understanding barriers to growth and devising solutions; running a Social Enterprise ‘clinic’, with widely published opening times, to assist any member of the UCL community to start a social enterprise; and extending the activities of Mapping for Change.
During the launch of the programme, I was approached with questions about the concept of Social Enterprise, and my experience of establishing one, so I guess that it is going to be a busy year.
For more information about the UCL Knowledge Transfer Champions programme, see here.
Next week, I am starting a project that will explore perception mapping at UCL and in the physical neighbourhood of it. The project was awarded as part of the UCL Public Engagement Unit Innovation Seed Fund and it is part of the wider activities of UCL’s Beacon for Public Engagement.
In this specific project (announced here), we are going to use the perception mapping methodologies that are used in the activities of Mapping for Change to understand how UCL is viewed in its neighbourhood, and how the researchers that are working at UCL relate to the local area.
We are going to focus specifically on the biomedical research community, mainly because UCL is one of the biggest centres for biomedical research in the UK, and continues to grow. The university has a clear public mission and an ambition to engage with local communities, and consequently links must be made between the local communities in Euston and King’s Cross and the university’s biomedical community.
Over the next year, through a series of workshops, the mapping perceptions project will explore how UCL is viewed by the local community, and how UCL researchers view the local area.
Building on the workshop discussions, artist Neal White will develop two unique guided tours. Participating UCL researchers will guide local participants around some of UCL’s research facilities, and the people who are involved from outside the university will guide UCL researchers on a tour of the local area. Through this process, the project aims to challenge the perceptions identified in the mapping workshops.
In a final exhibition, which will be design in collaboration with The Arts Catalyst, visitors will be able to access maps and visual photos generated by participants during the workshops and tours. Discussion events at the exhibition will provide an opportunity for all participants to meet again and discuss the issues that came to the fore during the exercise, making recommendations for ongoing engagement between UCL and the local community.
This project will follow the footsteps of the Citizen Science for Sustainability (SuScit) in terms of engaging local communities in scientific activities. To do that, we partnered with Capacity Global to learn from their experience as they were partners of SuScit. Updates on the project will be made available on Mapping for Change website.