St Andrews hosts innovative conference

Friday 4 April 2008

Researchers were given the opportunity to find out how their work could affect society at a unique one-day conference in St Andrews on Friday.

The national GRADskills conference brought together early stage researchers, academic staff, university managers, funding bodies, and policy makers in an attmept to discuss how researchers can get involved with Knowledge Transfer (KT) to help stimulate economic development, inform public policy or facilitate cultural engagement.

The event, entitled “Knowledge Transfer Scotland: Policy & Practice”, is the first Scottish conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities that arise for research students and staff and has attracted around 250 of Scotland’s researchers, research managers and Knowledge Transfer practitioners. Over 50 experts from around the UK and the US addressed the conference, and representatives from nearly all of Scotland’s universities were present.

Professor Alan Miller, Vice Principal of Research at the University of St Andrews said, “This conference is in many ways a celebration of Scottish achievement in and commitment to Knowledge Transfer and, in highlighting the growing breadth of opportunities opening up to early stage researchers, aims to inspire our PhD students and Postdoctoral Fellows about the skills they can develop and the impact they could have through the practice of Knowledge Transfer.

“It also provides an excellent forum for all those involved to clarify their understanding of the scope and potential of Knowledge Transfer in Scotland, and to make useful contacts with a large network of colleagues from across the Scottish research base.”

Chaired by Quentin Cooper, Presenter of BBC Radio 4’s “The Material World”, the conference addressed themes such as what Scotland can learn from the US about research commercialisation, informing government policy development, engaging the public in research, stimulating cultural engagement in the Arts, and reaching a wider audience through the media.

Keynote speaker, Prof David Gani, Director of Research Policy and Strategy at the Scottish Funding Council said that he expected the conference would mark the beginning of a new era of strategic interactions between researchers and practitioners in Scotland.

Principal speakers also include Roger McClure, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, Professor Ian Sanderson of The Scottish Government, and Mr John Neilson, Director, Research Base at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS).

Dr Ruth Neiland, GRADskills Director, University of St Andrew said, “As part of the St Andrews’ GRADskills programme for early stage researchers, we have been very pleased to develop this conference on behalf of  ‘Universities Scotland Research & Commercialisation Committee Research Training Sub-Committee’ to raise the awareness of PhD students and Postdoctoral Fellows across Scotland about Knowledge Transfer.

“I hope that by attending this conference, the early stage researchers present will feel better informed about the ways they can get involved with KT and be inspired by the career potentials it could offer them in the future.”


For further details visit the web site at:


The one-day conference is sponsored by the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, UK GRAD and University of St Andrews.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, 07730 415 015 or email [email protected]
Ref: GRADskills040408
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