2021 Conference


‘Knowledge Exchange for Learning and Teaching in HE’

25th June 2021

Click to view the three rivers conference booklet
Click this booklet to view the draft version of the Three Rivers Conference Booklet

The 2021 conference will be held on online from 9.15 am to 1.30pm (25th June 2021)

Click to view the draft version of the Three Rivers Conference Booklet

Please note: the final version of this booklet will include links to attend the live streams. The final version will not be displayed here, it will be emailed to those who have booked onto the conference from the 5 Universities in the region via the Eventbrite system.

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For further information, please direct your correspondence to
Mark Proctor (mark.proctor@sunderland.ac.uk)


This 15th regional conference builds upon the success of previous partnership events held by the region’s Universities (Sunderland, Northumbria, Durham, Newcastle, and Teesside).

We invite our teaching community to contribute to critical discussions on Knowledge Exchange as part of learning in higher education. This involves exploring how our institutions enable student learning as part of Knowledge Exchange processes in higher education, establishing why they are powerful approaches to student development, and sharing experiences of their impact on the students’ learning experience.

Since the title of this conference is ‘Knowledge Exchange for Learning and Teaching in HE’, contributions are welcomed on learning and teaching initiatives in higher education which form part of Knowledge Exchange processes.

Our Working-Definition of Knowledge Exchange (KE)

Our working-definition of Knowledge Exchange (KE) and its associated sister-terms:
One of our hosting institution conference organisers/committee members (Claire Proctor); and her fellow researcher Dr Derek Watson have found that definitions of Knowledge Exchange (KE, also known as Knowledge Sharing) and its commonly interchangeable sister-term Knowledge Transfer (KT) have varied due to the complex and contested nature of these terms. The difference between KT and KE? One of Claire and Derek’s favourite finds, which details the level of interchangeability between the usage of KE and KT terms, is a review paper from Polkinghorne, Bournemouth University, and the Institute of Knowledge Transfer (ITK) in 2011. Within this paper, a table is shown which Claire has interpreted to reveal that KE and KT are often perceived to be one and the same – a viewpoint which the authors of the paper share (Polkinghorne, Bournemouth University, and ITK , 2011, pp.3-5). However, generally speaking KT seems to be more likely to be defined as some variation of “the conveyance of knowledge from one place, person or ownership to another”- between individuals in a University setting ; and/ or between universities and businesses (adapted from Liyanage, Elhag, Ballal, and Li, 2009, p.122). In contrast, KE seems more likely to be regarded as a more symbiotic sharing and communicating of information between multiple people in these same settings (definition adapted from Reed, Stringer, Fazey, Evely, and Kruijsen, 2014, p.337). Either way, Claire and Derek would like for it to be noted that: the central focus of both KE and KT can encompass just about every activity that an academic does during their day to day teaching and learning schedule.


What are some examples of KE and KT practices? For the purpose of providing examples of KT and KE within this conference we have adopted Claire Proctor’s and Dr Derek Watson’s working-definition from their research (which in itself is a combined and adapted version of definitions by Franco and Pinho, 2019, p.67; and D’Este and Patel, 2007, p.1296; and includes some sub-topics from a Higher Ed Partners training course Claire attended in 2020).

1. Lecturing / Teaching –  including but not limited to:

1a. Lesson management/ planning for classroom interactions;

1b. Embedding knowledge sharing plans into the teaching curriculum and/ or research approaches;

1c. Independent learning opportunities with external support (such as guest lecturing, visiting professorships, and opportunities for internships and placements with mentoring wrapped up in their offering);

1d. Exploring how sharing knowledge and applying it can lead to transformations/ recognising KE contributors’ efforts and promoting the benefits gained from KE;

1e. Diversity in contributor attributes and the impact this has on the type of knowledge shared and how it is shared – i.e. demographic features, mental attributes, technological abilities, and many other diversity topics;

1f. Assessment of learning outcomes/ impacts;

2. Co-operation in collaborative projects;

3. Continuing Professional Development / Training (and Staff Development);

4. Consultancy / Business Support;

5. Problem Solving;

6. Joint Research;

7. Student Projects – involving working with other people in either a university or business setting.


D’Este, P. and Patel, P. (2007). University–industry linkages in the UK: What are the factors underlying the variety of interactions with industry?. Research Policy, 36(9), 1295–1313. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2007.05.002

Franco, M. and Pinho, C. (2019). A case study about cooperation between University Research Centres: Knowledge transfer perspective. Journal of Innovation and Knowledge, 4(1), 62-69. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jik.2018.03.003

Liyanage, C., Elhag, T., Ballal, T. and Li, Q. (2009) ‘Knowledge communication and translation – a knowledge transfer model’, Journal of Knowledge Management. 13(3), pp. 118–131. doi: 10.1108/13673270910962914.

Polkinghorne, M., Bournemouth University, and Institute of Knowledge Transfer (2011) Review of the use of the terms ‘knowledge transfer’ and ‘knowledge exchange’: undertaken in partnership with the Institute of Knowledge Transfer. Bournemouth: Bournemouth University (KTP Centre). Available at: http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/17869/1/Review_of_the_Use_of_KT_and_KE_Terminology.pdf  (Accessed: 11 February 2021)

Reed, M. S., Stringer, L. C., Fazey, I., Evely, A. C. and Kruijsen, J. H. J. (2014) ‘Five principles for the practice of knowledge exchange in environmental management’, Journal of Environmental Management, 146(1), pp. 337–345. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.07.021.

For additional information about the Higher Ed Partners Training (2020/2021) Opportunities, Please see the website referenced below.

Higher Ed Partners (2021) Higher Ed Partners United Kingdom Wesbite [and contact details]. Available at: https://higheredpartners.co.uk/ (Accessed: 11 February 2021)

The call for abstracts is now close.

The call for abstracts is now close. Abstracts have been accepted from staff and students (as co-authors) at Sunderland, Newcastle, Durham, and Teesside Universities.

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Please see our abstract submission process page to find out what information you will need to submit and the submission process.

Please see our supporting information for advice on submitting an abstract for a paper and presenting a paper.

The link to the abstract submission page has now been removed.

Conference Agenda.

Click to view the 25th June 2021 Three Rivers Conference Draft Booklet

Registration/Booking Process.

You can sign up here on this Eventbrite link.

(In the unlikely event that the conference becomes oversubscribed, it will be necessary for the committee to prioritise the first two presenters submitted for each paper, then other staff, and then other students.)

Welcome speech.

The welcome speech will be delivered by Dr Abigail Moriarty and Dr Abigail Moriarty’s biography is given below.

Profile picture for Abigail Moriarty
—-by Dr Abigail Moriarty—-Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at the University of Sunderland

Dr Abigail Moriarty or ‘Abi’ is the newbie Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at the University of Sunderland since August 2019. From 2013 to 2019 she was the Associate Director of Teaching and Learning, and then promoted to the Director of Teaching and Learning and Interim PVC (Academic) at De Montfort University (DMU), Leicester. From 2001 to 2013 she held various academic roles within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences DMU, including Teacher Fellow, Programme Leader, Head of Division and had a Faculty lead role in developing the student experience. She is a qualified nurse and midwife.

Her research interests span both student learning and professional practice. Much of her recent work has been on improving the understanding of how students succeed in Higher Education, and what barriers prevent them from reaching their full potential. Therefore ultimately designing a universally inclusive curriculum, that is student centric and inspiring. Abigail has given numerous invited key note presentations on Universal Design for Learning, to local, national and international audiences.

She completed her first degree at DMU and also holds a MA and PhD degrees in education from the University of Huddersfield. Dr Moriarty is a co-author of Transforming Higher Education through Universal Design for Learning (2019) and continues to influence and shape the student experience in her new role as PVC for Learning and Teaching for those students at the University of Sunderland, with campuses in London and Hong Kong.

Her downtime includes gardening (badly) and listening to audiobooks on her 123 mile commute. She lives in Yorkshire and is a loving mum to Margot-Rose the Beagle and has an array of other cats and rabbits and is also married to Chris. She is delighted and honoured to be the Welcome Remarks Speaker at the Three Rivers Conference 2021.

We have 2 keynotes.

Keynote speeches will be delivered by Professor Jon Timmis and Sandy Sparks. The title of the keynotes and each presenter’s biography is given below.

Title: The role of Knowledge Exchange in supporting HE Learning And Teaching.

Picture of Professor Jonathan Timmis
——by Professor Jon Timmis——-Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Commercial) at the University of Sunderland

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Commercial)
Jon is responsible for University recruitment, marketing and communications, knowledge transfer and exchange, regional development, work-based learning, partnerships, philanthropy and alumni relations, and international activity. He is Professor of Intelligent and Adaptive Systems, and maintains an active research group in the area of swarm and evolutionary robotics, and computational biology.

After a career in catering, Jon studied Computer Science as a mature student at Aberystwyth University, staying on to study for a PhD in the area of artificial intelligence. In 2000 Jon moved to the University of Kent, becoming Senior Lecturer at the School of Computing. In 2005 he joined York, initially as Reader between the Computer Science and Electronic Engineering departments. He became a professor in 2008, then moved full-time to the Department of Electronic Engineering. He served as Head of the Electronic Engineering Department and then Pro Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Knowledge Exchange.

Jon is a previous recipient of a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award and a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship. Jon co-founded Simomics Ltd in 2015 to commercialise his research.

Title: Developing, Activating And Maintaining Your Networks: During Knowledge Exchange For Impact.

Sandy Sparks
—–by Sandy Sparks—-
Twitter: Sandy Sparks (Dicks) @Sparks_Dicks

Sandy Sparks a professional / organisational development consultant with both UK and international experience. She has worked in both the private and public sector, with extensive Higher Education (H.E) experience. Since 1994, Sandy has run her own independent consultancy business. Sandy has a portfolio career which incorporates facilitation, mediation and she undertakes consultancy in a wide range of HR, OD and L&D areas.

Sandy is passionate about and committed to creating engaging learning and development, in order to build the capacity and capability of people. She has a proven track record of successful start-up and development of programmes / projects, delivering to budget, agreed time-scales and deliverables. Impact and evaluation of provision / programmes are important to Sandy to evidence the impact and that the initiative makes a difference.

Sandy supports people to enhance their capabilities, effectiveness and employability. Sandy has experience both as a lecturer, researcher developer and Organisational Developer. For over a decade Sandy was the Organisational Development Consultant for Research Active Staff (RAS) at the University of Warwick (circa 2200 RAS staff in 2019, from 300 in 2009). Sandy led the University of Warwick RAS Learning & Development Provision that covers the following thematic areas: Leadership Development, Career Development, Skills Development (e.g. Online Profiles, Academic Writing), and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (e.g. Unconscious Bias, Dignity Training, Inter-cultural / Cross-cultural Training), Enterprise/ Entrepreneurship and Research Impact / Public Engagement.

Sandy has presented at academic conferences since 2008, she has been an invited speaker and trainer, she has produced specialist and generalist articles for practitioner and non-practitioner publications, blogs etc. Sandy has been an associate and facilitated on the British Council Researcher Connect Programme in Brazil, China, India, and Kenya. She has also presented at many Vitae conference.

Sandy Sparks
Linked-in: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/sandy-dicks-sparks-42153b52
Twitter: Sandy Sparks (Dicks) @Sparks_Dicks
Email: sandydickssparks@gmail.com

Three Rivers Consortium Committee: Mark Proctor & Claire Proctor (Sunderland) | Jean Mathias (Durham) | Sue Gill (Newcastle) | Susan Mathieson (Northumbria) | Samuel Elkington (Teesside)

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This event is recognised by Advance HE

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