School of Business and Economics


1 Oct 2015

KM expert Dr Ragsdell seconded to the ETI on a Royal Academy of Engineering scheme

Dr Ragsdell

Dr Gillian Ragsdell, Senior Lecturer in Knowledge Management at Loughborough University’s School of Business and Economics and member of the Centre for Information Management, is one of six UK academics to have been awarded an industrial secondment with the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE).

The RAE’s Industrial Secondment scheme will see them spending up to 12 months working onsite with an industrial partner, collaborating on a project with a direct industrial application. Dr Ragsdell will be working with the ETI (Energy Technologies Institute), supporting the ETI’s knowledge management practices to ensure systems and processes are designed to enhance the dissemination and use of the knowledge, insights and innovation built up by the ETI over the last seven years across its technology programme portfolio, and to provide sustainable access to the ETI’s knowledge resources.

Dr Ragsdell said:

I am very pleased to be able to join the ETI as a Knowledge Manager, and I feel privileged that the RAE has awarded me this opportunity. A secondment is an excellent way to inspire our teaching and to generate new modules and programmes that meet the needs of our future managers and business leaders.  The secondment with the ETI is particularly rewarding since it is in an important sector - the energy sector - and the role is one that is crucial to all organisations.

In the 1980s, I was a semiconductor engineer, so, at a personal level, this secondment is very important to me. It is a chance for me to return to engineering and an opportunity to contribute again to that discipline but in a role that probably was unheard of all those years ago.

The RAE secondment scheme provides a valuable opportunity to establish strategic partnerships between industry and academia based on collaborative research projects. It facilitates knowledge transfer and enables academics to gain first-hand experience of working in an industrial environment.

Professor Ric Parker CBE FREng, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Research and Secondment Committee, said:

The benefits of the Academy’s Industrial Secondment scheme extend well beyond the initial joint project. This initiative facilitates the establishment of long-term partnerships and collaborations between researchers in industry and academia; building lasting working relationships between the partners.

In line with one of its key research challenges - energy - Loughborough University’s Science and Enterprise Park houses a cluster of energy-related organisations that includes Intelligent Energy, Cenex, DNVGL and the ETI. This cluster forms an important innovation ecosystem, with organisations interacting with each other as well as with the academic base of the University, and the broader Midlands Energy Consortium (comprising the Universities of Nottingham, Birmingham, Warwick and Loughborough, alongside the British Geological Survey).

As a key member of this energy innovation community, the benefits of the secondment with the ETI will have a broader spill-over effect into other tenants of the Science and Enterprise Park and their partners.

Mike Colechin, ETI Partnership Manager, said:

The ETI has been working hard to ensure that what we have learnt from our technology programmes and analysis of the UK’s future energy system reaches the people who can make the best use of it. Effective management of our knowledge is crucial to creating this impact to ensure we reach the right people and organisations with information that is insightful and relevant to them. 

Working with Dr Ragsdell is creating a significant improvement to the way in which we approach these issues.  We are very grateful to the Academy for encouraging and supporting mutually beneficial relationships of this kind.

Professor Stewart Robinson, Acting Dean for the School of Business and Economics, said:

As the number of SBE students grows, undergraduate placements and employment destinations are increasingly in engineering organisations. Similarly, there is an obvious movement for professional engineers to seek management qualifications with the SBE to progress their careers. It is therefore important for SBE to continually refresh its understanding of the engineering culture.

Gill’s prior career in semiconductor manufacturing, her sustained interest in engineering and this great opportunity to update her knowledge management practices, will make significant contributions to this process.

The secondment with the ETI is a perfect opportunity for the SBE to build on our expertise in the management of contemporary engineering businesses and, through our teaching, to develop leaders for the challenges therein.

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