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University of Hong Kong: Partnership with the Faculty of Science

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Paul has been a great help and collaborator over the last few years as we develop the Faculty’s capability.”


Professor Matthew Evans
Dean of Science
The University of Hong Kong

Since 2017 we’ve worked with the Faculty of Science at the University of Hong Kong, supporting emerging leaders and providing targeted academic development as new opportunities emerge.

A client and institutional friend, we’ve partnered with colleagues face-to-face and online to deliver a Dragon’s Den experience, enriching appetite and skills in Knowledge Exchange and commercialisation, and to support a new cadre of leaders to implement a development plan for the Faculty. 

Developing a new cadre of leaders

The Faculty of Science was seeking to develop a new cadre of leaders from across academic and professional services. Over a period of six months, we worked with 15 senior colleagues, bringing them together as a cohesive team to overcome patterns of silo working, and tackle issues critical to implementing the Faculty’s development plan.

Essential to achieving sustainable, positive, change, was to establish the culture for how people would work together and to enable the Faculty to see itself in new ways and construct narratives for its own future. The success of this team depended on creating a culture of trust, shared responsibility and an expectation of widely-distributed leadership. This culture would set the scene for the Faculty’s role in helping prepare the University for a challenging new era among leading global universities.

Over the course of the programme, colleagues worked with newly-appointed academics on how to improve staff induction, and engaged with a group of Masters students on planning enhancements in learning and teaching. Each participant had a sequence of coaching conversations with the programme director, Paul Gentle.

Using experiential development over a sequence of workshops, the Faculty leadership team devised a set of principles for working together, committed to meeting regularly to tackle key leadership topics as the Development Plan unfolds and bonded as an influential, informal, leadership group.

Building capacity for Knowledge Exchange

In September 2020, Invisible Grail returned to the Faculty to design and facilitate an intensive 3-day programme to build capacity in Knowledge Exchange. Responding to a consultant’s report urging the University to encourage their researchers to commercialise their work, the Faculty invited promising academics to take part in an innovative programme to embed a spirit of confidence and entrepreneurship.

17 colleagues took part, and worked in small teams to pitch project ideas to potential funders, including a CEO of a Nasdaq-listed company and a senior leader from the global bank HSBC.

Working together online over 3 days, colleagues were guided through activities to help embed practices that inspire and influence others. They experimented with how to deliver a clear and compelling vision of their work as individuals and as a group, and how to create shared plans of actions that will gain traction with academic departments across the Faculty, and will be fully supported by the University’s Senior Management and the Knowledge Exchange Office.

The programme served to build a community of practice in Knowledge Exchange across all the departments in the Faculty, and to provide a potential model for the rest of the University. The entrepreneurial future looks bright for the Faculty of Science.

Find out more

If you would like to explore how we can work with your Faculty, team or department, please contact our Academic Director, Paul Gentle.

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