Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)

KESS is annually delivered by the Assembly’s Research and Information Service (RaISe) and its local university partners - Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB), Ulster University (Ulster) and The Open University (OU).

KESS aims to encourage debate and improve understanding by providing a forum – a “safe space” - in which academic research findings are disseminated in a straightforward format, on issues that are relevant to the policy and law-making relating to Northern Ireland.

It seeks to bring these findings to the attention of key participants and decision-makers, as well as the wider public sector; importantly providing a “pathway” for later, more, in-depth engagement.

KESS does not support or promote perspectives or messages stated at seminars.


Annual Programme

The KESS annual programme runs from October-June, including up to 20 seminar dates.

Each seminar addresses 2-4 themes under a broad heading.

Academics present on these themes highlighting the relevance of their research findings to governance in Northern Ireland.

The KESS Panel (see below) determines the annual programme, selecting from applications received in the spring prior to the Series commencing.

Presentations and Policy Briefings

Academics who participate in KESS do so via an oral 20-minute Presentation (including a 20-slide power point) and a written 5-6-page Policy Briefing.

At planned intervals, workshops are provided by RaISe at each university, to facilitate academics’ compilation of Presentations and Policy Briefings.


For information about the current and past KESS annual programmes, including Presentations, Policy Briefings and video clips, view the KESS webpages at:


The KESS Panel is composed of representatives from the Assembly and all 3 partner universities.

It meets to plan and agree the annual programme, and procedures and practices relating to the operation and delivery of KESS.

It also arranges the support needed for academics presenting at seminars, e.g. Briefing Packs and Workshops.

Administrative Team

The KESS Administrative Team includes staff from RaISe, which plays a central coordinating role, and each university.

The Team provides administrative support that enables both the organisation and delivery of KESS.

Bid for Submissions

The KESS Panel actively promotes this bid for submissions through the internal communication channels and social media at each KESS university partner.

The opportunity to apply is open to all academics at QUB, Ulster and The OU, by making either a single or joint submission.

Joint submissions may include academics from non-partner institutions; but the “lead academic”, i.e. the person making the submission on behalf of all the academics named on the application, must be from one of the university partners.

Applications to Participate

Academics who wish to be considered for the 2017-18 KESS Programme should fully complete and submit the relevant application form, including fully completed “Declaration of Interest Form(s)” for each named academic.

The two routes to apply are either:

  1. A Single Submission – an application proposing one 20-minute presentation on a single theme to contribute to the Panel’s formulation of an entire seminar if accepted;
  2. A Joint Submission – an application proposing 2-4 20-minute presentations on related themes to collectively formulate an entire seminar if selected. The Panel encourages joint submissions as it aids formulation of the programme. The Panel also encourages academics to work with academics from other disciplines, both intra- and inter-institutionally.

For both of the above, please use a maximum of 500 words in the box provided on the form to describe each potential seminar presentation proposal.

Ensure that you highlight how the research findings are/will be:

  • Objective/non-partisan (no party political – in the broadest sense);
  • Evidence-based;
  • Robust;
  • Reliable;
  • Accessible (written in plain English); and,
  • Relevant to policy and law-making relating to Northern Ireland (For example, the research findings help to identify issues for consideration or lines of questioning that could enable Assembly deliberations in the given area. The appended “2017-18 Hot Topics List” provides some guidance in this respect, but it is not intended to be exhaustive.).

To supplement the appended List, the following links may provide additional information relating to Northern Ireland policy, legislation and the budget, which may be helpful when applying:

Declaration of Interest Form

Please ensure each academic named on the application form fully completes a “Declaration of Interest Form”, and include all such completed forms as part of the application submission.

This information is collected, held and managed in order to formulate and deliver the forthcoming KESS annual programme. (Additional information about this form is outlined below at “Data Protection” and on the form itself.)

Note: the KESS Panel will not consider applications that do not include a fully completed Declaration of Interest Form for each academic named on the application.

Contacts for Bid Information Information about this bid can be obtained from the designated KESS Panel member at your university: she is responsible for: (i) disseminating the bid amongst academics at your university via internal communication channels and social media; and, (ii) receiving all submissions via email by the stated deadline:

Opening and Closing Dates

This bid for the 2017-18 KESS annual programme opens at 3pm on 26 April 2017 and closes at midnight on 25 May 2017.

Where to Send Completed Applications

By the stated closing date, completed applications are to be emailed to the Panel representative designated at your university – see above.

Panel Decisions Regarding Applications

By August 2017, the Panel will notify applicants of its decision via the lead academic contact’s email address, as stated on the application.

KESS Privacy Notice - Data Protection

This sub-section sets out the KESS Privacy Notice. It explains how the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission uses and protects the information we collect from you, or that you provide to us in relation to KESS.

To understand our views and practices regarding that personal data and how we treat it, please note the contents of the following paragraphs.

“Data controller” defined

For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, the “data controller” is: The Northern Ireland Assembly Commission, Parliament Buildings, Ballymiscaw, Stormont Estate, Belfast, BT4 3XX.

What we collect

This Notice applies to information we collect in the form of applications to take part in a forthcoming KESS annual programme.

What we do with the information we collect

We collect, hold and manage this information in order to formulate and deliver the forthcoming KESS annual programme. For unsuccessful applicants, we securely dispose of this information after the programme has been agreed.

For successful applicants, we securely dispose after the programme has been delivered.

If you wish to be kept informed of future KESS information beyond the stated timeframes, please email us at: