They have avoided it, complained about it and questioned its merits, but now academics have a genuine reason to get involved with knowledge transfer - it is good for their careers.
Research into the impact of London-based knowledge-transfer projects in the arts and humanities found that early-career academics have the most to gain from getting involved in schemes that involve external partners such as theatres and galleries.
Taking part in knowledge transfer boosted young academics' profiles both within the academy and beyond, and led to their being recognised as potential leaders outside higher education, it says.
By making their expertise publicly known through such projects, academics found that they benefited from improved networking opportunities, received invitations to speak and present papers, and were approached about potential research collaborations and bids.
They were also able to use their experience to develop new projects.
The research, carried out by the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange (LCACE) - a partnership that brings together nine higher education institutions and numerous arts organisations in the capital - analysed the impact of funding distributed to universities to reach new audiences and markets.
Evelyn Wilson, senior manager at LCACE, said: "It's very, very good for profile-raising. There is a sense in which people will look to those (academics) as experts. There is an expectation from a range of partners that those people will be very responsible advocates, and that their research is credible."
Debbie Buckley-Golder, programme director of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, said such programmes could "provide a platform for 'action research', which is critical for developing an understanding of the implications of research in practice".
She added that taking part in knowledge-transfer partnerships would enhance academics' understanding of how research is applied, lead to further research and develop relevant teaching.