March 20, 2013, by Emma Thorne

Network, Discuss, Collaborate

Carina Neil, of the Centre for International ePortfolio Development, outlines the success of the Ingenuity KnowledgeHub, which is helping to grow a new University business community.

The University of Nottingham’s CIePD (Centre for International ePortfolio Development) won funding from Jisc in 2012 to deliver the Ingenuity KnowledgeHub, an innovative project making it easier for small businesses and social enterprises to access University resources.

To achieve this, we have been working in partnership with other University departments (Business Engagement Innovation Services and Community Partnerships); the University of Derby’s Distributed and Intelligent Systems Research Group (DISYS) and Derby Corporate; and local small businesses, The Good Work Guide and In A Fishbowl.  Our diverse team spans University departments and local business networks and expertise across the region.

To complement the highly successful University of Nottingham Ingenuity Local Business Network, we developed a new online community featuring two facilities to grow University business engagement and foster collaboration between our local businesses: the ‘Fishbowl’ community and Discover, a powerful new search tool.

The University of Nottingham Fishbowl: “Good things come to those who bait”

In this unique online community, three local businesses tell their stories and ask questions using weekly blogs, videos and social media updates. They receive advice and feedback from a panel of 18 local business and University experts, plus from anyone else in the business community or general public who wants to join in the discussion.

Businesses and experts all say they have found participation worthwhile. Darren Gent from Progenitor Solutions said: “Expert feedback has been invaluable and has helped us grow.” 

Search and Discovery

Small businesses want easy access to University research, events and expertise. Developed by DISYS, Discover is an intelligent search engine located on the Ingenuity Local Business Network website, and provides access to ‘hard to find’ University and local business online resources.  Only relevant content for the Ingenuity business audience is searched and presented, which means it provides more targeted results than more general tools.

What next?

The Ingenuity KnowledgeHub project was funded for one year up until February 2013 under Jisc’s Business and Community Engagement Access to Resources programme; however, the Ingenuity KnowledgeHub services will continue to be delivered through Business Engagement Innovation Services as a part of their Ingenuity Programme and are available from the Ingenuity Local Business Network.

Meanwhile, CIePD is continuing to work with Community Partnerships and the Good Work Guide on the ERDF Building Enterprise: University and Community Partnerships project, developing knowledge exchange between community groups. In addition, In A Fishbowl are working on a new ‘Fishbowl’ for the Community Partnerships ESRC Catalyst project to increase public engagement and research partnerships.

View the fishbowl at

For further information, contact CIePD at–11-3-13.pdf

Posted in Funding