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Student-led Knowledge Exchange

Our student-led knowledge exchange project (SLKE) explores the impact of student involvement in health and wellbeing clinics.

Student lifestyle co-ordinator teaches exercise to two older patients at the health clinic


The project (SLKE) builds on Marjon’s success in promoting knowledge exchange through student involvement in health and wellbeing clinics. As UK health policy moves increasingly toward a preventative model focusing on health behaviour modification such as increased physical activity, dietary change, and patient self-care, these types of clinics are becoming central to the work of healthcare professionals.

Marjon has been running activities, which promote health and well-being in the workplace and in complex multi-morbid communities for many years. We are recognised as offering an exemplary service for the local community, working alongside local partners, as well as providing opportunities for enhancing student development and employability.


This project will use a transformative evaluation to help us understand and further enhance the opportunities of student involvement in these clinics. It will investigate the ways and extent to which these initiatives contribute to student learning, in addition to the positive impacts on partners and patients. Equally, it will assess the barriers and potential for wider utilisation of student-led knowledge exchange activities in higher education.


This project aims to explore the conditions, which allow a SLKE culture to flourish in undergraduate teaching and learning, and to develop a model for wider use. It aims to enhance student reflection and learning through transformative evaluation, to explore the drivers and barriers for SLKE from the perspective of students, academics and partners, and to promote scaling up of SLKE activities across the institution, region and nationally.


Marjon is one of only 20 Higher Education providers which have been awarded funding from the Office for Students and Research England’s funding competition, designed to explore the impact of student involvement in knowledge exchange. The aim of the funding is to provide better evidence of the student benefits of knowledge exchange, to share good practice across the sector and to improve future knowledge exchange activities.

Further guidance and resources

Further information, resources and the SLKE Model can be found on the SLKE resources and guidance page.


The objectives of the project include the following:

  • Exploring the drivers and barriers to engagement in student-led knowledge exchange activities for students, academic staff and external partners.
  • Using a transformative evaluation approach (Cooper, 2017) to identify the key characteristics of successful student-led knowledge exchange activities and to enhance student learning through reflection.
  • Undertaking a stakeholder analysis and piloting a train-the-trainers approach to explore how SLKE can be scaled up, and rolled out across the sector, giving larger numbers of people access to student-led interventions.
  • Developing a model of student-led knowledge exchange, together with recommendations for institutions, academics and external partners to enhance both take-up of and learning from SLKE activities.

Our team

The project involves an interdisciplinary team consisting of Professor Debby Cotton, Professor Saul Bloxham, Dr Sue Cooper, Mr John Downey and Dr Mauro Fornasiero. The project will also recruit a number of student researchers, who will assist in generating stories as part of the transformative evaluation.

Dissemination activities by the project team

6 July 2022

Paper presentation:Enhancing Authentic Learning Through Student-led Knowledge Exchange at EduLearn, Mallorca, Spain


1 June 2022

Pitch poster: ‘How can educational developers use transformative evaluation to enhance sustainability in Higher Education?’ at ICED, Denmark


12 May 2022

Conference poster: Student-Led Knowledge Exchange and Environmental Sustainability at the UoP project conference


27 January 2022

Conference poster: ‘Using transformative evaluation (TE) to enhance sustainability innovations’ at the Eighteenth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability at the University of Granada, Granada, Spain.




The SLKE project conference‘Knowledge Exchange in Higher Education: Implications for teaching and research’ took place at Plymouth Marjon University, Friday 1st April 2022

Plymouth Marjon University hosted the conference ‘Knowledge Exchange in Higher Education: Implications for teaching and research’. The conference shared examples of good practice in knowledge exchange activities across the sector, including the Arts, STEM subjects, Health  and Sustainability, helping develop new ideas and partnerships for KE growth.

A copy of the programme can be found below. If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email

For more information about the SLKE project, follow @MarjonSLKE on Twitter

Conference Keynote

The conference included a keynote by Paul Manners, Associate Professor of Public Engagement at UWE Bristol and founding director of UK's National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). 

Paul's keynote: 

Knowledge Exchange: what’s under the bonnet?

‘Knowledge Exchange’ is increasingly being used to describe how universities create value in their communities and contribute to local, regional, national and global challenges. But what does knowledge exchange mean? And what do we know about what good knowledge exchange looks like, from a university and community perspective? Paul’s plenary will help to navigate the past, present and future of Knowledge Exchange and will include a range of examples of how universities and their partners are working together to share and build powerful knowledge that makes a difference.

Also on the programme:

Marjon Academy Lecture Series

'Response and responsibility: the roles of universites in a more sustainable future'

Professor Zoe Robinson (Professor of Sustainability in HE, Keele University)


On 26 May 2022, John Downey, Senior Lecturer, presented ‘Scaling up a student-led knowledge exchange approach in other settings’ at Keele University’s Student Knowledge Exchange and Community Engaged Learning Symposium.