The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF)

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The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) proposes a third pillar of university activity assessment alongside the REF and TEF. It was included as a Government policy in the Industrial Strategy White Paper in 2017. PraxisAuril is engaging proactively on behalf of its members throughout the consultation and implementation process. The KEF is being led by Research England with support from other agencies including UUK, GuildHE, PraxisAuril and the NCUB. 

The KEF is an institutional-level exercise to inform and assess knowledge exchange activities of UK Higher Education Institutions. It comprises two parts: a KEF Concordat, led by Professor Trevor McMillan (Keele), and KEF metrics exercise led by Professor Richard Jones (Sheffield). It emerges from a longer-standing knowledge exchange framework initiative, started by the (then) HEFCE in 2015. One of the key outputs of this was the McMillan Review of Technology Transfer which concluded that UK universities were internationally competitive in their technology transfer practice but identified the need for stronger leadership in KE, and improved evidence to understand ecosytem and industry sector factors in successful technology transfer. To date, the main measure of knowledge exchange has been the annual HE-BCI data collection (now under review - see HESA website) whilst HEIF strategies provide qualitative insight into university KE approaches: a summary review of strategies was commissioned by Research England (HEFCE archived web content). The NCUB also has piloted an alternative approach to KE measurement with its Collaboration Progress Monitor, which draws on sources of publicly available data to observe trends across 15 metrics. This is updated annually and published alongside the State of the Relationship report
 
PraxisAuril's contact for KEF-related matters is Tamsin Mann, Head of Policy. You can find KEF comment from her on the Wonkhe website and within NCUB's 2019 State of the Relationship report. 
 
The  KEF Timeline   
An initial consultation on the use of metrics in the KEF concluded in January 2018. You can read PraxisAuril's contribution to the consultation here. A summary of consultation responses and a technical report on the proposed cluster approach was released by Research England in November 2018. This has been followed with a second consultation on the metrics exercise, including a pilot, in January 2019 which has now concluded.  
 
Key deadlines 
  • HESA's review of the HE-BCI data set, which informs the current KEF model, is now open with a deadline of Friday, 29th November. (See news items below for more information.)  
  • The KE Concordat (KEC) consultation closed on July 1 2019. You can find more information on the UUK website where news on the consultation findings will be published in due course. 
  • The KEF Metrics consultation closed on March 14 2019. Pilot institution workshops then took place. Outputs from the consultation and pilots were published in September 2019 (see below). 

Major review of the HE-BCI data set: phase one open.

HE-BCI is a key source of data and information about universities’ 'third stream' activities (those undertaken alongside research and teaching) that has been collected for well over a decade. The data collection covers: institutional strategy, business and community services, engagement with society, intellectual property, spin-off businesses, and regeneration and development. HE-BCI data informs institutional HEIF allocations and is a building block of the current KEF model. 

HEIF hits new heights as KEF roll-out is confirmed for 2020

The announcements, which were made at Research England’s Engagement Forum in London (26th September), confirm the place of Knowledge Exchange alongside teaching and research as a core university mission. This underpins the central role given to KE in the Government’s Industrial Strategy (2017).

Knowledge Exchange Framework: Outcomes of Consultation and Pilot Exercise

In January 2019 Research England published a consultation on our proposals for the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).  At the same time it invited English Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to participate in a pilot exercise to test and refine the proposals. The findings contained in the report are being used to inform the ongoing development of the KEF.  

KE Concordat consultation response

PraxisAuril and ARMA have submitted a joint response to UUK's consultation on the proposed KE Concordat, building on our existing engagement with sector stakeholders including Research England, Innovate UK, NCUB, GuildHE, PraxisAuril, NCCPE and UUK in the development of the KE Framework overall. 

HEIF, KEF and now KEC: welcoming the KE Concordat

Recently there have been multiple discussions about the relationships between multiple different acronyms. The latest 'kid on the block' is KEC - the Knowledge Exchange Concordat - which is published today. This has been developed by a group led by Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, supported by Universities UK and Research England and with contributions from several members of PraxisAuril. 

Business-Community Interaction income reaches a record £4.5 billion

The 2017-18 HE Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) data has been released today as an open data set by HESA. Headlines are highly positive, with year-on-year increases in all categories except consultancy, bringing the UK total to a record £4.5 billion. The highly scrutinised area of IP income shows strong growth with an increase of around 40% to over £200 million.

Time to Shine? KE professionals and the KEF

The title of my talk - ‘Time to Shine? KE professionals and the KEF’ - was a little tongue in cheek and maybe also a little provocative, but deliberately so because PraxisAuril members are not often visible when it comes to discussions about KE. And part of my job is to promote the expertise and experience that resides in the member network and can be used to really understand the dynamics of KE, particularly in the university-business context. The KEF will require us to examine the ways we facilitate KE and to think about innovative support modes and models.

Research England and Universities delivering the Industrial Strategy

Today Research England is publishing report summarising how universities are working to deliver the Government's Industrial Strategy. This focusses on use of the additional funds provided by Government for Research England to allocate for knowledge exchange through Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF).