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Helen Alexiou

Dr Helen Alexiou BA MA MAAPD PhD
Director and Co-Founder

Whilst founding the Knowledge Brokering Group, I reviewed my work history from a knowledge and knowledge brokering perspective. I realised that throughout most of my career I have been responsible for initiating new development and research projects and programs to effect change or achieve certain objectives and that knowledge brokering skills have been central to me successfully achieving those outcomes and objectives.

After completing a degree in Sport Science in 2004, I was drawn to a job that aimed to support PE teachers in the UK to include and assess students with a disability in PE.  This work led to a larger project aimed at using sport, health and fitness as a vehicle to develop skills generic to employment within as well as external to the sport, health and fitness sector.

The projects I developed were large and involved many stakeholders and partners (four national agencies plus 15 partner agencies including schools and school sport partnerships, youth services and county, regional and national based sport agencies). The projects were developed from scratch using, what I didn’t realise was the term at the time, knowledge brokering.

The project achieved the following:

  • Five national resources and training products developed to support the UK PE and sports sector

  • 1500 Resources distributed across UK special schools focusing on developing leadership skills

  • 3000 Handbooks distributed to UK schools and national, regional and local sport sector to support the strategic development of leadership initiatives

  • 320 sport and education staff trained

  • An increase in the number of young disabled people achieving and completing leadership awards with 700 students accessing awards and opportunities, and

  • An increase in development initiatives focusing on disability in partner organisations through increased KPI target setting, business planning and support training around inclusion

This was all achieved through effective knowledge brokering, finding individuals with the relevant knowledge, providing environments where we could each share our knowledge and through that co-produce knowledge which effectively became the project plans, project roll out and training and resources that came from all our learning.  This was knowledge brokered practice to practice, community to community, policy to practice and policy to community.  Since then I have continued to be drawn to work and research which at its core relies on knowledge brokering to take shape.

I undertook my Masters research in Sport Science which looked at how lab based physiology testing could be adapted to field based testing which could be utilised by coaches (research to practice).

On my return to Australia I worked as a Research and Development Manager responsible for the development and management of new projects focused on increasing training capacity and resources within the Australian General Practitioner Training sector.  One of the main projects I developed included 18 sub-projects focusing on urban, regional and remote GP training needs, linking GP training providers and universities.  It also incorporated a ‘Community of Practice’ for the sharing and further development of the models and findings from the projects. Again all of this was developed utilising knowledge brokering techniques. In this case (research to practice, practice to practice, community to practice and research to community)

I then returned to research completing a PhD in applied anthropology, drawing on theories from youth studies and the anthropology of education to explore policy, practice and success in youth development programs focusing on young Aboriginal people. Through my research the importance of knowledge brokering and the complexity of it were further highlighted.  (Research to policy, research to practice and research to research)

I have worked in the sport sector, education sector, youth sector, disability sector, International development sector, Indigenous sector and health sector.

I have been employed mostly as a national project manager or research and development manager.  I have also been a trainer, developed CPD for teacher and development professionals as well as lectured and tutored.

I have undertaken research in the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, disability, youth studies and exercise physiology as well as monitoring and evaluation in the areas of health and international development.

I have worked and lived in Australia, England and Finland.