Omnibus prik

Tools to measure knowledge exchange

If Morten Østergaard wants to encourage greater interaction between the business community and our universities, he should create some new tools to measure knowledge exchange, believes Michael Goodsite, a head of department at AU Herning.

“The core tasks of our universities involve research, education, talent development and knowledge exchange. AU Herning is a really strong player in the world of knowledge exchange, but we’re measured using the same parameters as the more classical areas of the university: research and education. This is because we lack the tools needed to quantify knowledge exchange,” says Goodsite.

He underlines that of course his department has excellent researchers and high-quality degree programmes; but he would also like to see greater recognition of the department’s success in building bridges between research, education and business.

“We’re among the best in Denmark when it comes to knowledge exchange with the private business sector, but we’re measured using entirely different parameters. What worries me is that the parameters by which you’re measured affect the way you are.”

Goodsite believes that what society needs is a broad range of research all the way from basic to applied research. So he has the following appeal for the Danish Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education:

“We need to develop new tools to measure knowledge exchange so people who are good at knowledge exchange are given the same kind of credit as researchers who publish in international journals like Nature.”

And he continues:

“People seem to focus purely on bibliometric indicators, and on who gets the biggest international funding. Nobody asks about the researcher or teacher who helped a student to start a company which now has a large number of staff and a multi-million turnover.”

Goodsite thinks that the minister should set up a committee including representatives of both the universities and business life, with a view to providing recommendations and measurable indicators and career paths. The head of department also has an idea for the kind of parameter that could be used:

“One idea is to count the number of companies that students have helped to start – companies which are still going strong three years later.”