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, 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 HE-BCI data collection (see 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 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.  
PraxisAuril's main contact for KEF-related matters is Tamsin Mann, Head of Policy. 
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 is now closed. 
Key deadlines 
  • The KE Cocordat (KEC) consultation is now live with a deadline of 1 July 2019 for responses. You can find more information on the UUK website or go straight to the consultation
  • The KEF metrics consultation (online survey) closed on March 14 2019. Pilot institution workshops are ongoing. Outputs from the consultation and pilots are expected to be released in the summer of 2019. 

Conference report: Preparing for the Knowledge Exchange Framework in UK HEIs

Professor Trevor McMillan, Chair of Research England’s KEF Steering Group, set the scene and trailed the KEF Concordat, stressing the importance of measuring and evaluating how universities do Knowledge Exchange (KE).  He identified three key actions for university management:

Research England releases more details on KEF proposals

Research England has published three documents that will help higher education institutions (HEIs) prepare for the upcoming consultation on the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF). The documents are: 

Summary KEF call for evidence responses: key points that have emerged from evidence submitted to Research England on suitable approaches to – and data to use in – the KEF. 

The Big Issues: engaging with our members on Industrial Strategy & KEF proposals

We’re sure it will come as no surprise that the current dominant policy issue is the Industrial Strategy and the proposed KEF. How is PraxisAuril engaging in these key sector developments for our members? Following a get-together in London to discuss the KEF, the PraxisAuril Advocacy Committee put together a response to the KEF Technical Advisory Group (January 2018) which you can read here. Our thanks go to all those involved.

PraxisAuril responds to the KEF consultation (Feb 2018)

PraxisAuril members have helped to inform our response to the KEF consultation launched by HEFCE's Technical Advisory Group. Since 2015 we have worked with HEFCE to understand better the characteristics of good and effective practice in KE and support whole heartedly the work of the McMillan Group on which some of our members sit. We welcome the KEF as a next step in this work and will continue to engage fully to represent our members’ views as expert KE practitioners working across the UK's university sector. 

We see the aims of the KEF as:

PraxisAuril welcomes the KEF & Technical Advisory Group (Nov 2017)

HEFCE has started work on the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) which will form a third pillar of university assessment alongside the TEF and REF. A Technical Advisory Group, Chaired by Professor Richard Jones, will take evidence from the sector before handing over to Research England in April 2018.

PraxisUnico Conference 2016 - KE Framework Podcast

In the first of our podcasts from the PraxisUnico Conference 2016, Professor Trevor McMillan speaks about "Putting technology transfer in context: Development of the KE Framework".

In it he describes:

  • How the US views UK KE and TT
  • How the UK compares globally
  • What to be aware of when making comparisons

Click here to listen 

Sponsored by Forresters

Doing better knowledge exchange: Guest blog by Alice Frost from HEFCE

We in turn ask universities similar questions. What is the return they are delivering from our funding for knowledge exchange through HEIF? Are they seeking optimal synergies between knowledge exchange and wider drivers such as research impact and student employability; and with other sources of national and regional or local KE support? Are universities gaining feedback from external partners and addressing this in future developments? Have they put in place the long-term strategies, structures and people to deliver public benefits and sustainable approaches?