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Knowledge Exchange Seed Fund

"Baobab - seeds from one fruit, Adansonia digitata" by T.K. Naliaka - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons -,_Adansonia_digitata.jpg#/media/File:Baobab_-_seeds_from_one_fruit,_Adansonia_digitata.jpg

The KE Seed Fund is University-wide internal grant scheme for impactful, innovative projects involving collaboration with a partner outside of academia. University of Oxford researchers, divisions, faculties, departments, sub-departments and centres/units, research facilitators, business managers, and KE professionals are invited to apply. The Fund is part of the University’s HEFCE HEIF award and is, therefore, subject to the aims of HEIF: to ‘support and develop a broad range of knowledge-based interactions between universities and the wider world, which result in economic and social benefit to the UK.’ Apply at any time. Applicants are advised to contact Matthew Smart before submitting an application. Click here for details of the latest KE Seed Fund.

Previous Succesful Seed Fund Projects

Melena Meese and Maximilian Buston, Deocrative Arts and Phenomenology (DAP) Design Week: Textiles (Kellogg College)

Commercial brands, particularly those that are design-lead, are increasingly seeking to collaborate with academics in the humanities alongside the wider arts and cultural sectors. The revitalization of a number of heritage brands in the retail sector in recent years has prompted the mining of company archives and highlighted the vital role of archival work in shaping company communications and product development.

Martyn Harry '"Vehicles": Children's Opera, (Faculty of Music)

Action Transport Theatre (ATT) is a production house for innovative children's theatre. The opera "Vehicles" draws its main creative impetus from movement- and object-based theatre, taking its inspiration from stories and ideas emerging from participatory workshops with children in Ellesmere Port and Oxford Cowley. Both areas have a longstanding presence of the car industry. Workshops (delivered by singers and instrumentalists from the eventual opera) draw on the children's experiences and reflections on the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port and the Morris plant in Oxford, but also focus on the opera's potential for expressing ideas that are meaningful to children, with the word "vehicle" meaning not just a mode of transport but a medium for artistic expression.

Rebecca Dolgoy and Ben Morgan, Fabulous Mr. Fox (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages)

A dynamic collaboration between University researchers, community groups, and a regional museum. Based on a book of fables penned by the late 12th century Oxford-based Medieval Jewish scholar, scribe, and fabulist Benedictus Le Poncteur ('the punctuator'), stakeholders and visitors interact with heritage objects.

Luke Blaxill, Political Promises Through Time (Faculty of History)

Do politicians keep their promises? If not, did they in the past? This is investigated in partnership with the National Liberal Club in Whitehall, and a group of MPs. lets you see how MPs voted, when they attended parliament, and what they said. This project aims to set up a parralel resource titled 'Political Promises' where members of the public can view digital versions of current MPs' election addresses (the important but often forgotten document which details each MPs' promises made at election time) back to 1892. As well as aiming to make British democracy more transparent and accountable, Political Promises wll allow electors to compare the promises of their MPs and candidates with those of the past, encouraging more historically informed and holistic political judgements, and promises. It includes a discussion seminar attended by MPs and open to the public.

Anna Ross, Power and Space in Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century (Faculty of History)

Exploration, with architects and town planners, of the ways in which politicians, architects, town planners, and residents have conceived of physical spaces over time and the ways in which these conceptions impact power relationships, and the development of democratic political culture over time.

Ladan Baghai-Ravary, Telephone Voice and Speech Features for Remote Health Monitoring (Phonetics Laboratory)

There are a number of voice and speech features that are widely used for medical diagnosis and speech forensics, based on high quality audio recordings. However, telephone-based analysis of speech and voice is more desirable because of the ubiquity of the telephone and its ease of use. With a telecommunications company, a cloud telephony company, and developers of voice recognition and analysis software and tools (with experience in developing solutions for law enforcement, military, and other agencies both in the UK and around the world), the project determines how much conventional speech and voice features are affected by telephone-based recording and transmission, and identifies which of them could be utilised in a commercial cloud telephony application. Such an application would provide inherently consistent and objective measures of voice and speech characteristics without the travel, salaries, or other expenses normally associated with equipment used for high-quality voice recordings and medical/behavioural diagnostics. It includes analysis of speech collected over a range of environments representative of the modern-day telephone network. Primary aims are around medical applications: to provide reliable indications of phenomena related to speech pathology, speaker identity, emotional state, phonology, etc., with potential to improve healthcare for people suffering from speech-related disorders, as well as saving the NHS money.

Oliver Cox, Working with Collections in Research and Teaching (TORCH)

Leading curators from across the UK's museum and heritage sector develop sustainable partnerships to encourage cross-discplinary learning with University researchers. The partnerships have benefit both researchers and museums. For academics, museum partnerships support innovative research and researchers engage audiences with their activities and achieve impact. For museums and heritage sites, accessing research expertise can help them unlock the potential of collections, offer dynamic new ways of intepreting and displaying collections and attract new audiences.

Barry Murnane and Georgina Paul, German Migrants and the Making of Modern Britain 1714-1837 (Faculty of Modern Languages)

Museum collaboration to exhibit and reconstruct the mutually productive relations between German and British cultures in the long 18th century following Hanoverian accession to the throne. In this defining period the seeds of modern British and German culture and society were sown, and Hanoverian accession functioned as a catalyst for intense and highly productive processes of migration, cultural transfer, political development, academic and scientific advancement, and modernization which remain central to both countries to the present day. Includes a series of pop-up exhibits with potential for development beyond the C18th. remit, which can be made available to German businesses in the UK who wish to highlight their contribution to social, economic and cultural developments.

Tom Kuhn, Brecht's Poems in Performance (Faculty of Modern Languages)

Working directly with actors gives new insights into the nature of performance poetry and song. E.g. Brecht had a particular understanding of rhythm, very different from traditional versification. Scholarship illuminates the theory for the performers; while perfomance informs the practice of scholarship. Exploration of the "reading" versus "performance" of poetry informs academic research and practitioner's work on the translation of poetry and song.

Julie Curtis, 21st Century Russian Theatre: Understanding the Highly Politicised Medium for Better-Informed Collaborations (Faculty of Modern Languages)

Modern political contexts of Russian theatre.  British theatres often seek the expertise of academics to stage foreign works (e.g. collaborations with the RSC, National, and Barbican Theatres in London, and the Belgrade in Coventry).  This workshop on 21st-century Russian theatre combines academic papers with talks by theatre practitioners (playwrights, directors, critics and translators). There are staged readings. Our understanding of this highly politicised medium in Putin’s Russia leads to better-informed collaborations between academics and practitioners.

Anna Clark (succeeded by Bruno Currie), Teaching Latin and Greek (Faculty of Classics)

Work with schools on teaching techniques.  Inform teachers of new teaching approaches (based on current Modern Foreign Language approaches) to Latin and Greek.  Measure the impact of Latin/Greek teaching on pupils’ literacy skills.

Susan Jones, Dance: Form and Grace Through the Work of Cunningham, Joyce, and Cage (Faculty of English)

Initiating knowledge exchange between choreographers, dance practitioners, and academics, on the topic of interpreting grace, self-consciousness, and the mechanical figure.

Katrin Kohl, Oxford German Network (Faculty of Modern Languages)

Working with German companies (including banks and car manufacturers) to explore national (mainly UK and German) cultural approaches to business, and how these play out and can be of benefit to international companies.  Includes exchange schemes and placements, and collaborations in training researchers and employees.

Henrike LähnemannMusic in Monasteries. Recording the German Reformation (Faculty of Modern Languages)

Specialists in German history and culture join forces with a young Oxford musical ensemble to record the soundscape of the German Reformation. In July 2016, a year before the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s publication of the 95 theses, the Oxford Bach Soloists travelled with an Oxford Professor of Medieval German Studies, Henrike Lähnemann, to Germany to perform music from the German Reformation in the places where it originated: the medieval churches and monasteries of Northern Germany. These recordings from the now Protestant abbeys of Lüne and Mariensee will be a core element in the Reformation Trail, which will link different Oxford institutions in the Reformation year 2017 and allow a multi-layered experience of the Reformation, linking up British and German congregations engaging with their Protestant heritage and musicians and a wider audience interested in the roots of one of the most powerful traditions of European classical music.

Helen Small and Sarah Barnette, George Eliot’s England: Collaborating with the George Eliot Heritage Centre (Faculty of English)

Success will be to see the digitization of the transformation of the Heritage Centre and footage from interviews, GEF events, and Eliot heritage sites accomplish the following: foment literary tourism in the Nuneaton-Bedworth, Coventry region; encourage local interest (through relationships with schools and businesses) in the Eliot cultural heritage ecosystem; and inform academic research (of 19th c. literary tourism, material culture in Victorian studies, object-based research). 

Tom Kuhn and Hannah Vinter, Brecht’s FATZER  at the North Wall (Faculty of Modern Languages)

This will be a ground-breaking production of a Brecht text that has seldom seen any light at all (and none in English). It will introduce young theatre practitioners, and English speakers generally, to this new aspect of Brecht and will bring together the University and a dynamic local arts centre in a collaboration that will serve as a model for future projects. 

Kathy-Anne (Gabrielle) Hughes, TALKABOUT Guides (School of Archaeology)

TalkAbout creates innovative museum guides: engaging conversation cards that lead visitors through museums and heritage spaces by asking questions about thematically related artworks to prompt rich, fun discussions. TalkAbout is crafting guides for Waddesdon Manor and the Oxford Lieder Festival, then further testing and rollout.  Collections managers become better informed about what visitors find engaging about collections.