Our Purpose

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Initiate, Nurture, Sustain

Jenny Ames Consulting Ltd was founded to initiate, nurture and sustain strategic partnerships stemming from the needs of society, the outputs of academic research and the expertise residing in universities. These partnerships involve universities and organisations including the private, public and charity sectors, civic society and communities.

Our approach is to work with you in three inter-related areas:

  • Strategy development and implementation
  • Talent development
  • Initiation and nurturing of cross-sector collaborations
Accelerating collaborations between universities and users of research, including businesses, the public and voluntary sectors, civic society and communities

Beyond academia

Universities are multifaceted, complex organisations. Their traditional activities have been education and research. More recently, these activities have evolved and others have come into play. This has led to the role of universities expanding.

In the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, the impact of research ‘beyond academia’ – in other words, on the economy and society – was introduced. The weighting for research impact case studies in REF 2021  has increased from 16% of the REF in 2014 to 25% in 2021. Therefore, the impact of research is being given increasingly serious consideration for the REF by universities. Collaborations with organisations and communities outside academia are essential for success here.

But collaborations between universities and other organisations should not be driven by the REF, nor are they all about the REF. Academic research can be the start of strategic collaborations involving universities with other organisations focused on, for example, attracting businesses to the region, Master’s programmes to provide advanced skills in shortage areas, and providing public events such as lectures and festivals that enrich life and wellbeing.

The ‘ivory tower’ concept of universities has dramatically weakened with many universities now playing the role of an anchor institution in their region.

Increasingly, universities collaborate with other organisations in their region including business, further education colleges and local government. They are frequently very active members of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Enterprise Zones, City Deals and Growth Deals, local devolution, and regional Science and Innovation Audits. They are extremely well placed to collaborate with other organisations to address significant challenges faced by society.

Currently, there are several major challenges that need to be tackled by society. These include the need to ensure:

  • climate change is effectively addressed
  • affordable and clean energy and transport
  • affordable and sustainable healthcare (physical and mental)
  • affordable social care for a growing elderly population
  • education and skills development to meet the needs of employers
  • a thriving economy and employment opportunities
  • healthy and sustainable environments
  • social cohesion
  • safe and resilient communities
  • the wellbeing of society
Translate research knowledge and expertise based in universities to address challenges faced by businesses and society
Translate research knowledge and expertise based in universities to address challenges faced by businesses and society
Translate research knowledge and expertise based in universities to address challenges faced by businesses and society
Translate research knowledge and expertise based in universities to address challenges faced by businesses and society

Brexit is giving concerns about staff (and student) recruitment and loss of members of the workforce across all sectors, including higher education. Economic pressures are creating the need to do more with less resource. In the university sector, some institutions may need to merge.

Universities need to differentiate themselves and be more innovative and staff in all sectors need to adapt to a changing external environment. This means being open to change and opportunities to do things differently, as well as facing challenges in partnership with other organisations or sectors.

While society faces several complex challenges, there are also opportunities.

Developments in robotics, autonomous systems and the digital economy provide the opportunity for innovation. For example, robotic surgery has been providing greater precision and access within the human body for several years. Big data (very large data sets) can be used to model scenarios and interrogate patterns to assist with planning in many areas including transport, healthcare, and security. What are the cross-sector advances that await identification and development for a better world?

In 2016, the government announced an additional £4.7 billion funding for research and development in the 4 years to 2020. In autumn 2017, Jo Johnson announced an additional £30 million to fund Knowledge Transfer Partnerships which help businesses to improve their competitiveness through working with the knowledge base, such as a university.

The Industrial Strategy White Paper was issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in November 2017. Its aim is to improve productivity by strengthening five ‘foundations’ – ideas, people, infrastructure, business environment and places. The government has used some of the £4.7 billion funding announced in 2016 to establish an accompanying Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to support world-leading researchers working with business to address 4 Grand Challenges identified in the strategy: artificial intelligence and big data; clean growth; the future of mobility; and meeting the needs of an ageing society.

The evolution and effective implementation of the Industrial Strategy should help to address identified challenges and prepare the country for a changing world. Different sectors will need to work together in new ways to formulate innovative solutions and be open to viewing them from different perspectives.

Collaborating across sectors and types of organisation requires the ability to communicate effectively and work flexibly with colleagues from other backgrounds who are used to working in different ways. This requires different ways of working to generate novel and effective solutions.

Developing a clear understanding and plan for working with other organisations
Jenny Ames Consulting accelerates collaborations between universities and users of research
Jenny Ames Consulting accelerates collaborations between universities and users of research
Translate research knowledge and expertise based in universities to address challenges faced by businesses and society

Strategy development and implementation

Talent development

Initiation and nurturing of cross-sector collaborations

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November 14, 2018

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Top tips for small businesses wanting to collaborate with a university

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