Sharing is caring – discussing knowledge transfer and innovation in Ireland


When given the opportunity to write about your favourite subject ánd practice your English language skills of course you say ‘yes’. So I did and now you can read the result: my first blog! Since I am working for the Dutch research universities as a policy officer I have been inspired by the way they make sure the knowledge they gain from their research is used in society and industry. Sharing their knowledge through scientific papers (open access), public engagement, books, enterprises and education is a big part of the daily practice of researchers and universities. I like to do what I can to make sure they are able to maximize their impact. Learning from the experiences of colleagues in other countries is a great way to find out how we can improve our own practice and policies on knowledge transfer in the Netherlands. That is why at the end of June I travelled to Dundalk, Ireland.


Recently, the OECD conducted research in five European countries on innovative higher education as part of HEInnovate. They also visited the Netherlands to see how innovative and entrepreneurial our institutions really are. I am happy that they found our universities already well equipped to make sure our research outcomes will not end up somewhere on a shelve, but will live on in new innovations and solutions. Of course there are ways to improve. Therefore the OECD organised a two-day workshop for the participating countries facilitate knowledge exchange at the University of Technology of Dundalk, Ireland.

The Workshop

In Ireland we could share our knowledge and experiences with professionals from the four other countries: Bulgaria, Hungary, Ireland and Poland. It was really interesting to see we face a lot of similar challenges. As in the Netherlands, the other countries are trying to find ways to gain more insight in knowledge transfer activities. How can we display the vast number of partnerships, entrepreneurial activities and innovative researchers and universities are a part of? To kick off the discussion on that topic I was asked to share some of the ways we have presented the knowledge transfer of research universities.

We are also all trying to find a good way to evaluate and reward the efforts researchers make to share their knowledge. Fortunately there was a lot of time in our schedule to discuss these topics with each other. Next to plenary discussions we got the chance to have speeddates where everyone shared best practices. I learned about entrepreneurial education in Hungary impact case studies in Ireland, and knowledge transfer of Social Sciences and Humanities in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

It was interesting and helpful to share and I hope we can continue this kind of exchange. Because to become better institutions, policy makers and partners in a knowledge ecosystem, we need to look outside our own institutions and countries.  

Best, Marte
P.S. Please visit our Impactfestival on November 23rd in Amersfoort to see how far we have come!



Marte Simons

Policy Advisor VSNU