Our approach to Knowledge Exchange and how you can get involved

Knowledge exchange (KE) is a process that brings together academics, users of research, wider groups and communities to exchange ideas, evidence and expertise. The Research Councils recognise that knowledge exchange has societal, economic and cultural benefits, often referred to as ‘Impact’. In our approach to KE and Impact, we borrow from good practice and build on existing literature. While we are mindful of the challenges associated with synthesising and mobilising knowledge, and of assessing the quality of evidence produced, we believe that solutions to housing challenges will only emerge by harnessing the expertise of world-leading academic researchers from a wide range of disciplines, drawing on knowledge from within different professional communities, and combining the work of existing networks operating at a variety of scales and in different locales.

The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) recognises that there are very different housing challenges to be found across the UK; it is therefore configured as a distributed ‘hub and spoke’ model, active in all parts of the country, designed to ensure geographic reach and nationwide relevance. It has a permanent presence in London, Sheffield, Cardiff, Belfast, and Glasgow. Our KE team is overseen by Gavin Smart and includes Moira Munro and Gareth James in Scotland; Ed Ferrari and Gareth Young in Northern England; Jeff Matsu and Chris Foye in Southern England; Stanley McGreal and Joe Frey in Northern Ireland; and Peter Mackie and Bob Smith in Wales.

Inspired by the Harvard model of the Tobin project, we will undertake a series of prioritisation exercises with stakeholders from across the UK housing sector, at national and sub-national levels. These exercises will take the form of intensive, expertly facilitated workshops to identify priority research questions. Prior to these exercises, we will facilitate focus groups to capture residents’ voices and feed these into the prioritisation process. We anticipate an intellectually stimulating and inclusive process which sets priorities in a way that is consensual, transparent, independent and dynamic.

The resulting projects will inevitably take several different forms and will have different durations. In the meantime, we are already working on 12 evidence reviews. The subject and the primary KE contact for each project are included in the table below.

CaCHE Evidence Reviews (Year 1-2017/18) & KE contacts


In addition to the prioritisation exercises and exemplar projects, we will hold up to 20 KE events annually, which will help to test, refine and promote evidence from our reviews, collaborative projects and new research. These workshops and conferences will focus on specific problems. Recent events include a workshop entitled ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ with the UK Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Future events will include an annual housing and policy conference: the first, with Policy Scotland, will explore challenges in the Private Rented Sector in Scotland; and subsequent events will focus on the problems identified via the prioritisation exercises mentioned above. We are also planning secondment opportunities and public engagement through major annual lectures, as well as bespoke regional activities, such as our recent contribution to the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences.

This is but a flavour of what we’re doing and what we have planned for the coming years. To stay informed, you can follow this blog, sign up for our mailing list and follow us on Twitter. If you’d like to know more about CaCHE projects, join our KE network, or become involved with any of the projects listed above, please get in touch with a member of the KE team. If you think there is a gap in the evidence base that CaCHE can help fill then the KE team would also be keen to hear from you. KE is about establishing two-way communication and engagement. We therefore look forward to learning from you and to sharing ideas, research evidence, experiences and skills with you, to better understand and tackle housing problems in all regions of the UK.

Dr Gareth James and Dr Chris Foye are Knowledge Exchange Associates, and Dr Gareth Young is Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fellow, for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence.

Authors: Dr Gareth James, Dr Chris Foye and Dr Gareth Young
Published: 08/01/18


Date: January 8, 2018 3:10 pm

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