Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF)

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, PraxisAuril and the NCUB. 
 
The KEF is an intitutional-level exercise to inform and assess knowldge 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 January 2016. 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 HEBCI data collection (see the HESA website). HEIF strategies, for English HEIS in receipt of funding, provide qualitative insight into university KE approaches: a summary review of strategies was commissioned by Research England (then HEFCE, archived web content). The NCUB has piloted an alternative approach with its Collaboration Progress Monitor, which draws on sources of publicly available data to observe trends across 15 metrics. Several reviews of the sector can be found in the Resources section of our website. 
 
The  KEF Timeline REVISED due to COVID-19 crisis 
  • May 2020 - Publication of updated policies and priorities for HEIF and the template for the new multi-year accountability statements.
  • 2 October 2020 - Deadline for eligible institutions not in receipt of HEIF funding, to confirm their intent to participate in the KEF. 
  • 17 October 2020 - Deadline for completion of the KEF's narrative elements (Institutional context, Local Growth & Regeneration, and Public Engagement). Research England narrative template guidance has been published on their website along with confirmation of the KEF clusters and their members.
  • December 2020 - Distribution of guidance and templates for the 2019-20 HEIF Annual Monitoring Statement.
  • December 2020 - Publication of the KEF metrics and narrative statements. 

You can read PraxisAuril's contribution to the initial consultation on the use of metrics in the KEF 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 was followed by a second consultation on the metrics exercise in January 2019 and a pilot exercise involving 20 HEIs from across the clusters. 

For all KEF-related matters, please contact Tamsin Mann, Director of Policy. 

Updated timetable for KEF and HEIF

Research England has today released information on a revised timetable for the roll-out of the KEF metrics exercise and provided assurance to HEIs about the use of HEIF funding for the current academic year, at a time when universities are providing vital roles in the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter, addressed to Heads of English HEIs, sets out measures to lower burden in the short-term whilst providing reassurance and strategic direction for the 2020-21 academic year. 

KEF Narrative Templates Released

Research England has published a report with further detail on clustering and narrative templates for the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF). 

The reports sets out the revised KEF cluster descriptions and confirmation of cluster placements. The most significant change is the loss of the 'Social Sciences & Business' cluster. The four institutions in that cluster have been reassigned. 

Research England report details how the first version of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) will work

Research England has released a report detailing decisions and next steps for the KEF following last year’s consultation and pilot exercises. PraxisAuril is pleased to see that comments and contributions from universities, businesses and other sector stakeholders – including many PraxisAuril members – have been taken into account in the final metrics, narrative information, clusters, eligibility and timelines.

Reflections on the second meeting of the KE Best Practice Group

 

Jennie Shorley, Associate Head for Research and Knowledge Exchange and Academic Impact Lead in the Faculty of Business and Law, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Deputy Chair of the PraxisAuril Professional Development Committee, joined us and ran a workshop on career development for KE professionals.  Adam Crook, from the BEIS Industrial Strategy team also joined and provided an update on the Industrial Strategy, and discussed how universities, and their industrial collaborators, can best position themselves in order to take full advantage of the funding on offer.

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

 

PraxisAuril has always highlighted the importance of HEIF through its advocacy activities, including in many consultation responses to Government, emphasising its flexibility and power to leverage many other sources of external funding for a wide range of KE activities. It supports not only projects but KE professionals that work at the intersections of research and external audiences; raising awareness of KE as a set of activities that have the potential to engage many different audiences for economic and social benefits.

 

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.