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‘Medieval’ university structures hold back knowledge exchange

Universities’ knowledge exchange activities are hindered by “medieval”, discipline-based structures that are irrelevant to businesses, the chairman of the Knowledge Exchange Framework’s steering group has told a conference.

Trevor McMillan, KEF steering group chairman and Keele University vice-chancellor, told a Westminster Forum event in London on 10 September that under a proposed KEF concordat, or leadership statement, universities would be asked to assess themselves against “seven guiding principles”, including how well they set up policies to better engage and work with businesses.

“Fundamentally we have a medieval structure that sits within most of our universities based on disciplines that are quite frankly irrelevant to the vast majority of organisations that want to work with us,” McMillan told delegates. He later took to Twitter, following HE’s reporting of his comments, to explain that he meant the structures were irrelevant to businesses rather than the disciplines.

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