Open call to undertake an exploratory study into business schools and knowledge exchange

Background to the study

The Chartered ABS will periodically fund research of direct relevance to our strategic priorities and which will benefit our member business schools. At the request of the Chartered ABS Council, a working group was formed to explore the types of activities the Chartered ABS could undertake in the areas of Knowledge Exchange (KE) and the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) in particular.

The working group concluded that the KEF in its current format is likely to understate much of the KE work being undertaken in business schools, such as unfunded research and engagement with business and wider communities. In addition, the primary source for the KEF metrics, the HESA-BCI dataset, does not provide data at faculty level, and it is felt that some KEF metrics may result in a bias towards STEM subjects. We believe it is crucial that the nature and impact of business schools’ KE activities is recognised.

Following the recommendations of the working group, the Chartered ABS Council agreed that we should issue an invitation to interested and appropriately qualified people from member institutions to undertake a research exercise to map the multifaceted contributions business schools make to KE, and to develop a narrative that could contribute towards shaping KE and KEF at the overall university level. This would offer business school Deans, the research community and those engaging with business, greater clarity and guidance on how to engage in this space, and would raise awareness outside business schools of the valuable work that business schools do. It is intended that the final output from the project would have the potential to feed into the development of an ‘impact capture’ system to measure the health, economic, and social effects of business schools’ KE activities. It is also expected to showcase best practice and provide guidance to business school colleagues on how to promote the contribution and impact of their KE activities.

For background information on the Chartered ABS’s policy positions on the KEF it is worth reading our responses to the 2019 consultation on the design and implementation of the KEF (see here) and the 2022 review of options for KEF 2 (see here).

Research questions

The research questions to be explored by the project are below. It is not anticipated that the proposed exploratory research project will answer all these questions in detail. Rather the project is intended to explore the key issues, to highlight the multiplicity of business schools’ KE activities that are not always recognised, to provide guidance to business schools, to inform the Chartered ABS’ input to the future development of KEF and related activities, and to provide a narrative for external communications.

  • How do business schools define and measure KE and to what extent is this in line with KEF/KEC definitions?
  • What do business schools contribute to KE? What are the outcomes of this activity?
  • How is KE in business schools led, governed, and delivered?
  • What resources (workload hours, professional support etc.) are allocated to KE activities?
  • How are business schools working with other parts of their institutions on KE activities? How did these relationships develop and what was the impact?
  • To what extent and in what ways are business schools involved in institution-level self-evaluation and action planning around KE? Are business schools involved in the Knowledge Exchange Concordat? Did they respond to the KEF review?
  • How might business schools leverage KEF and KEC, using their existing capabilities?
  • How could business schools better highlight their contributions to KE, considering available data (from SBC, institutional accreditations, HESA, etc)?
  • How are business schools engaging with businesses in the context of KE?
  • What are the main barriers to more effective KE activities by business schools and how might they be addressed?
  • What role might the Chartered ABS (or other networks) play in supporting business schools to develop and promote their KE activities?


Proposals will be expected to articulate the most appropriate methodology to answer the above research questions. It will be important to ensure that the research collects data from a range of different types of member schools across the UK. The working group is of the opinion that documentary analysis and surveys alone will not be sufficient to address the research questions, and it is expected that the proposals will cover some qualitative methods. Researchers will be expected to review relevant literature.


Bids are for any amount up to £30,000. Recipients will be expected to demonstrate how their proposal represents value for money to the Chartered ABS and will be required to enter into an agreement on the conditions of the funding. The research contract will be made with their institution’s research office. The Chartered ABS office will be able to lend limited support to the recipients, where appropriate.


Recipients are expected to deliver a written report and/or research findings, which will be of sufficient quality to be published on the Chartered ABS website. The Chartered ABS will have final editorial say over the publication but will not change any of the substance of the report. Where appropriate, findings and reports will be delivered by the appointed recipients in-person at a Chartered ABS event. The recipients will also be expected to assist with the dissemination of the findings across the research community in the post-publication period.

Expected project timeline

It is anticipated that the successful recipients will begin work on the project before the end of 2022 and that the project will be completed within 12 months. During the project the contractor(s) will be required to:

  • Provide regular progress updates to the Chartered ABS Research Manager, the KEF Working Group, and any individual(s) of a suitable academic standing whom the Chartered ABS may appoint to provide oversight to the project
  • Meet with the Chartered ABS Research Manager once per month to discuss progress with the project and to raise any issues that could affect the projected timeline for completion
  • If requested by the Chartered ABS, meet with members of the KEF Working Group and any other individual appointed by the Chartered ABS to serve as project oversight
  • Provide an interim progress report six months into the project

Criteria and eligibility

Applicants must be employed by a full UK or international member business school of the Chartered ABS.

Applications will be considered according to the following selection criteria, and joint proposals from two or more member schools would be welcome:

  • Alignment with the brief
  • Quality of the proposal
  • Likely impact of the project or research on the work of the Chartered ABS, and the likely benefits for its members
  • Transparency of costing and overall value for money of the proposal

Please note: Chartered ABS committees are not eligible to make applications. This does not exclude committee members from making applications outside of their committee work.


Applicants should apply by completing this form and emailing it, along with the additional documentation, to the Chartered ABS's Research Manager, Ramin Bokaian, at

This form requests the following information:

  1. Proposed methodology, intended outputs and their uses, and whether or not the proposal is being considered for funding by any other body.
  2. Any other research questions believed to be pertinent to the project which may not be covered by the scope of this call-out

The following supporting documentation is also required:

  1. Full curriculum vitae
  2. A spreadsheet with the costing for your proposal


All applications will be scrutinised by the Chartered ABS Scholarships Committee, a sub-committee of the Council. This committee may take their recommendations to a full meeting of the Council for approval. Applicants may be called for interview by the Committee where this is felt desirable. The Council’s decision is final.


Submissions must be received by 5pm on Monday 31 October 2022, with the intention that a decision will be made by 30 November. Awards will be for a one-year duration.

The Chartered ABS mission

The Chartered Association of Business Schools is the membership body of the UK’s business schools

and represents around 120 business schools and higher education providers, as well as affiliate

stakeholders, corporate members, and international partners. Our mission is to support our members to maintain world-class standards of teaching and research, help shape policy, and create opportunities through dialogue with business and government.


The Chartered ABS principles on equality, diversity, and inclusion

Applicants should consider our EDI principles which can be viewed here.