For academics: why collaborate with third sector?

Evidencing the impact of academic research as part of Research Excellence Framework (REF) is an important part of academia. Setting up collaborations with third sector partners may be significant to this work.

The Knowledge Translation Network publication Collaborating with academics provides practical guidance and resources for setting up effective links between third sector organsations and academics around generating and using evidence to influence policy and practice.

Although primarily written for third sector organisations this guide may also be useful for academics for thinking about ‘why’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ to collaborate with third sector partners.  

  • It highlights challenges that third sector organisations face when collaborating with academia.  
  • Collaborations are about learning.  Third sector organisations and funders want to know what works and what doesn’t work in particular circumstances. This guide has suggestions about managing expectations and communicating well.
  • ‘In the spotlight’ examples illustrate successful collaborations and show good practice in action.
  • Part 3 features resources mainly sourced from academia.        

Other useful resources about third sector-academic collaboration

The Scottish Third Sector Research Forum‘s case study report “Bringing the Third Sector and academic research together”  is a collection of case studies that show practical solutions collaboration challenges.  

  • Loretto Care & University of West of Scotland
  • Community-University Collaboration for Social Progress (CUSP) and a local community
  • Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research & Policy (SCPHRP)
  • You Can Cook & Food Innovation@Abertay
  • Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health

InterAction: How can academics and the third sector work together to influence policy and practice?  This report from Carnegie UK Trust/ Carnegie Fellow Prof Mark Schuksmith OBE explores the different approaches of both sectors to knowledge and evidence; investigates the obstacles and challenges to collaboration; highlights examples of successful interactions; and makes a series of recommendations to those in the third sector, academia and the research funding councils as to how more positive collaboration can be encouraged.

Keep up to date with third sector research

Subscribe to quarterly e-bulletins from the Scottish Third Sector Research Forum to keep up to date with events and links to research from, and about, the Third Sector.