Perspectives on Partnership

What is better than the Platinum Package?

“The Gold Standard”; “Diamond Option”; “Go Platinum!”

There is a continual pressure to strive for the biggest, best, most committed options in life. Sometimes, however, we should recognise that our organisations and partners might not want, or be ready for, the “Ultimate Mega-Package.”

In the Public Engagement sector there is a consensus that the best engagement is:

  • two-way
  • upstream
  • involving researchers and interested public
  • in-depth
  • considered
  • includes knowledge transfer
  • novel and innovative*
NCCPE “Perspectives on Partnership” Tool

The set of cards that makes the POP Tool kit.
It was a real pleasure at last week’s NCCPE organised SUPI review seminar to witness Sophie Duncan and Paul Manners reveal their Perspectives on Partnership (POP) Tool to help universities and schools assess what type of partnership they have and desire.

The tool recognises four types of partnership:

  • Spontaneous
  • Inspired
  • Thoughtful
  • Strategic

The participants are then asked to consider a partnership from each of four participants perspectives:

  • Researchers
  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Partnership brokers

I “played the game” as a student and there was a tendency to think that the purple Strategic partnership is what we should be asking for. That type of relationship would be very fulfilling, but also very expensive on resources. Consideration of whether all the stakeholders want purple is very necessary.

But the real eye-opener was the realisation that the vast majority of schools don’t even have a Spontaneous partnership with a university and that to jump straight to a Strategic partnership is not realistic.

I’m a Scientist and schools partnerships

The Tool kit is already providing a framework within which to discuss where I’m a Scientist and I’m an Engineer fit into the programmes that a university might want to support. We share some characteristics with a Spontaneous model: “time poor teachers”, “great opportunities for students to meet a researcher”, “skills development for the researcher”. However it also shares characteristics with the Inspired model: “Purposeful. A programme of activities develops.”; “Researchers develop their skills that lead to more effective activities.”; “Seeks to develop a good offer for the schools that take part, and keen to reach specific schools.”

So thank you Sophie and Paul for developing the tool. I think it will be useful for universities and schools to articulate where they are and want to be in terms of working together. It also gives us a way of explaining how we bridge the gap between Spontaneous and Inspired without the drawbacks of either.


*Not really, but some funders seem to value this a little too highly IMHO.

Posted on October 17, 2017 by ModShane in News. Comments Off on Perspectives on Partnership