| 4 minute read

How to create value from your research: A guide to research valorisation

Madeline Arkins

The concept of valorisation has become increasingly important as universities strive to extend the impact of their research beyond the confines of academia. This is supported by our research, which shows that academics want to see their research or knowledge used to solve practical problems or to help society (UIIN, 2018). This topic is no less important to our UIIN community.

To unpack this further, we’ve put together a research valorisation 101, with a collection of pieces from our UIIN Insights. Let’s dive in!

What is valorisation in research?

Despite being such an in-demand part of research, the term valorisation can still be met with confusion; so much so, that many researchers may not realise that they already carry out valorisation activities.

Research valorisation is the process of capturing value from research, making it more accessible to have greater positive impact on society. It is broader than commercialisation, knowledge transfer and innovation, and can also encompass other activities such as the development and delivery of training by researchers.

This handy infographic, based on UIIN’s work in the STEM Valorise project, captures valorisation in a nutshell and illustrates its defining characteristics, for example, its dissemination and democratisation of knowledge and it’s benefit to larger society.

What is an example of valorisation?

Examples of valorisation include the typical translation of research outputs into products, services, or publications, as well as joint research and consultancy projects, and (external) training development and delivery. Valorisation activities can also take different forms across disciplines.

Our podcast series explores this topic further. In Overcoming valorisation challenges in Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts we speak with Dr. Emma Salgard Cunha (Commercialisation Manager, Cambridge Enterprise at the University of Cambridge) and Sean Farran (Global Innovation Lead at London School of Economics) to discuss how valorisation differs in SSH and what supporting mechanisms exist to overcome challenges.

How can academics valorise their research?

Academics can valorise their research with these three simple actions:

  1. Be clear about how valorisation can help you. It can lead to more publications, greater impact and better student employability.
  2. Commit to taking the first step, even if it may seem daunting. Reach out to other academics, and the knowledge transfer or innovation office at your university. Leave the technical language at the door when speaking to non-academics to ensure they understand your vision. And look into upskilling with a training program, like UIIN’s Impactful Academics Training Program.
  3. Build external relationships based on a shared vision, commitment and mutual trust.

We unpack this further in our short video.

What skills are needed to valorise?

“Project management, risk-taking, strategizing, networking, goal-setting, and communication” are just some of the skills mentioned by Marguerite Evans-Galea (Women in STEMM Australia) as skills needed to valorise your research. These are crucial not only to valorisation itself but also to developing an entrepreneurial mindset and improving your engagement outside academia for an overall greater impact on society.

In the podcast episode Nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurial researchers, we delve further into what characteristics and knowledge individual researchers need to be able to successfully create impact from their work. We hear insights from Marguerite as well as Jetty van Ginkel (Care for Impact) and Chris Fellingham (Oxford University Innovations).

Valorisation challenges

Valorisation can come with its fair share of challenges for researchers. This includes obstacles like limited resources, lack of awareness of industry needs, and understanding the complexities of intellectual property. Even knowing “where or whom to go to” to talk about valorisation opportunities can be a daunting first step for an academic in an institution where such routes are neither well-connected nor well-publicised.

As an organisation passionate about driving innovation we have no doubt that valorisation will continue to play a significant role in the future of higher education. We hope that UIIN’s resources serve as valuable tools to overcome these challenges for those seeking to make a lasting impact, disseminating and democratising their work beyond the academic world.

References

The State of European University-Business Cooperation – Final Report (2018). Accessible here.


Madeline Arkins (author) is a Project Officer at UIIN. In her work she focuses on topics relating to social impact and innovation in regional ecosystems.

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