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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.

Call for Papers - SLKE Project Conference

‘Knowledge Exchange in Higher Education: Implications for teaching and research’

Plymouth Marjon University, Friday 1st April 2022

Higher Education makes important contributions to the economy and society, through research, teaching and enterprise activities. Universities engage with their local communities and the wider world in a range of different ways, and the implications of this two-way dialogue for teaching and research opportunities are significant. Knowledge exchange (KE) and engagement activities offer routes to impact for researchers, increasing the visibility and accessibility of academic research to maximize external impact, and they offer opportunities for community partners to guide the research agenda. Knowledge Exchange delivers economic and social benefits to external partners, and – although less often considered – offers benefits for students themselves through their engagement in KE activities.

In this context, Plymouth Marjon University is delighted to announce an upcoming conference entitled ‘Knowledge Exchange in Higher Education: Implications for teaching and research’. This conference offers opportunities to share good practice in knowledge exchange activities across the sector, and to develop new ideas and partnerships for KE growth. It will include a keynote by Paul Manners, Policy Director of the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). Paul also chairs the National Trust’s advisory panel on learning and engagement, and is a former Executive Producer of BBC Learning.

The conference will also showcase the outcomes of Marjon’s Student-Led Knowledge Exchange (SLKE) Project which was funded by the Office for Students and Research England, as part of the ‘Student Engagement in Knowledge Exchange’ programme. The project team explored the conditions which allow a student-led knowledge exchange culture to flourish in undergraduate teaching and learning and developed a model for wider use across the sector.

Aimed at bringing together academics and representatives of organisations who work with universities from across the UK and beyond, you are invited to submit an abstract for a paper (20 mins), workshop/ round table discussion (1 hour), or poster, focused on one of the following themes:

  • Student-led knowledge exchange (including placements, volunteering and service learning)
  • Knowledge exchange policy developments including KEF and the KE concordat
  • Public Engagement as Knowledge Exchange
  • Evaluating the impact of knowledge exchange activities (including methodology papers)
  • Building partnerships beyond academia

Please submit your abstract via this link – closing date: 31st January 2022                                                                                                                                 

The conference will take place on 1st April 2022 at Plymouth Marjon University, UK. It will be free of charge and will include refreshments for delegates. For any queries, please email


To register, please use this form

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


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.


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.