Call for papers: 'Shaping the future of Student Engagement in Knowledge Exchange' conference

A National Conference sharing best practice and research into student knowledge exchange, to inform the advancement of pedagogy, public partnerships, and policy.


The focus on enhancing the student experience in Higher Education remains critical across the sector and the opportunity to harness the power of student knowledge exchange for this purpose is abundantly clear. The conference, ‘Shaping the future of Student Engagement in Knowledge Exchange’, hosted at the University of Plymouth will focus on sharing best practice and research into student knowledge exchange, to inform the advancement of pedagogy, public partnerships, and policy.

In particular, the conference will explore the ability to enhance the student experience, employability and connection with place through knowledge exchange, focusing on themes including supporting students in KE activity, community engagement, sustainability and policy and practice across the sector. Join us to share best practice and experience, learn and network with academics, students and community partners to explore how together we can grow the success of student KE in the future.

Key themes

  • x Creating the conditions for success: How do HEIs provide the environment, skills and resources to enhance student KE?
  • x Partner Perspectives: Experiences of community and business in co-creating or engaging in student KE.
  • x Future Leaders: enabling sustainable leadership and civic change through student KE.
  • x Future casting student knowledge exchange: Policy and practice 2022 and beyond…
  • x Breaking down barriers: How inclusive models of student knowledge exchange are enabling access for diverse learners.
  • x Working differently: Innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to Student KE.
  • x Positive effects: Improving student wellbeing and connectivity through KE.
  • x Added value outcomes: How delivery of student KE can support staff development and encourage talent retention in HEIs.
  • x Propose your own theme to inform the future of student KE.

Call for papers

Deadline for submissions: 17:00, Monday 7 February 2022

Proposals are sought against any of the thematic areas outlined above, across all disciplines, although please be aware of the event (day conference/evening event) on which specific type content is scheduled (see below).

The core theme of ‘sharing best practice in Student Knowledge Exchange and looking to the future of policy and practice’ will run across the whole conference.

Proposals with reflection on creative collaborations between academic teams, professional service teams and students are welcomed, as well as proposals from individuals or teams from across a single institution, or involving multiple institutions, employers and other partners, and especially from individuals of underrepresented groups.

The conference aims to showcase a wide and diverse range of work, projects and activities from across different stakeholders engaged in student KE, including those participating in KE activity (e.g. students / community partners). Individuals may submit against more than one session type, but should select the most relevant thematic area.

Submissions can be for any of the following session formats:

  • Oral presentation
  • Roundtable discussion 
  • Workshop session 
  • Interactive breakout
  • Poster presentation
  • Short film screening

For further details on the session formats, please see the call guidelines linked below.

The Bridge KE team at the University of Plymouth, acknowledges and embodies the idea that new ideas come from a diverse mix of thinking, background and life experience. Building upon the University of Plymouth’s commitment to providing an inclusive work environment, The Bridge seeks to enable knowledge exchange from within the university and beyond by creating a space where participants feel empowered to share their experiences and ideas by being their authentic self, and to create and share accessible and inclusive opportunities. We welcome applications of submissions that represent this diversity.

Read more on the call for proposals and guide to submissions.

Conference structure

The conference, titled ‘Shaping the future of Student Engagement in Knowledge Exchange,’ will take place on 12 May 2022 at the University of Plymouth campus, Plymouth (UK). It will be free of charge and will include refreshments for delegates.

The conference will include the sharing of knowledge and best practice from across the cohort of Higher Education Institutions who received funding from the Office for Students and Research England funding competition and in particular, will be delivered in collaboration with Greenwich, Birmingham and Anglia Ruskin University.

The conference will feature a programme of keynote speakers and panel sessions, as well as dynamic sessions with roundtable discussions, workshops, presentations and exhibitions.

Keynotes, panel sessions and most other sessions delivered as part of the conference, will be recorded and shared after the conference to allow for greater accessibility and sharing. For any queries, please contact Emily Barrett, Knowledge Exchange Specialist (

The conference will also have space for networking and feature an evening showcase and networking event, of which tickets can be purchased separately, or will be included in the ‘full conference’ ticket option:

Showcasing, Networking and Dinner Reception: 12 May 2022, from 18:30 onwards at Plymouth’s new world class space and home to a state-of-the-art Immersive Dome, The Market Hall.


The conference will:

  • Disseminate findings from the Office for Students and Research England funding competition in collaboration with other institutions in the cohort.
  • Celebrate and share examples of student Knowledge Exchange best practice and co-creation.
  • Create space for attendees to participate in creative thinking around student Knowledge Exchange and harnessing it to enhance the student experience.
  • Engage with keynote speakers and leaders from across the sector on the future of student Knowledge Exchange in policy/practice.

Who should attend?

  • Staff from HEIs interested in student KE, community engagement and enhancing the student experience
  • Members of sector associated bodies and groups
  • HEI stakeholders and partners within the student KE landscape (e.g. community partners)
  • Students involved in the KE projects delivery and/or student KE (i.e. students involved in the Office for Students and Research England funding competition as part of projects with other institutions in the cohort)


Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) engage with the wider world in a variety of ways and a key mechanism of this engagement is Knowledge Exchange activity. In return, the wider world shares real-time knowledge and inspiration. The distinctive approaches to KE across sector create the potential to increase the financial, social, creative and intellectual capital of society and drives a fundamental shift in the models through which we deliver education and research. Making impactful contributions from HEI’s to the economy and society.

Knowledge Exchange can help academics to develop new interdisciplinary projects and collaborations, increase the visibility, profile and impact of their research, deliver new and innovative modes of teaching and learning, enhance the student experience and increase student employability and graduate outcomes. It supports industry and community partners to develop new products, services and experiences, connect to skills, talent and resources, and enables access to a wider range of networks and opportunities. Beyond the impact on employability and graduate outcomes, KE also benefits students through allowing access to placement, live project and employment opportunities, showcasing their work, developing their personal and professional skills and building their professional networks.

In 2020, The University of Plymouth became one of twenty institutions to be awarded funding from the Office for Students and Research England funding competition, designed to explore the impact of student involvement in knowledge exchange. The project funded by this competition, ‘Engaging Students in Knowledge Exchange’, is building on existing and highly successful knowledge exchange projects within the University of Plymouth, with a drive toward understanding and maximising the benefit to students engaging in knowledge exchange activity with organisations and community partners.

Alongside this type of funding and the mechanisms of KEF and KEC, the sector is increasingly striving to increase the effectiveness of the use of public funding for knowledge exchange. This increased focus on KE creates new innovations in teaching pedagogies and learning environments as never before, bringing a more enriching experience, connection to place and ultimately, enhancing student success.

Despite the past 18 months of significant change in Higher Education, one core element remains the same - the focus on enhancing student success. Whether that is through an innovative new internship scheme, bespoke resources supporting the KE experience, impactful community engagement projects, or increasing the effectiveness of funding, policy and practice, the Student Engagement in Knowledge Exchange Conference 2022 will explore shaping the future of enhancing student success through KE.