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   
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. PraxisAuril's main contact for KEF-related matters is Tamsin Mann, Head of Policy. 
 
Key deadlines 
  • Friday, 25 January 2019 (midday) - deadline for HEIs to register their interest in being involved in the KEF pilot exercise for the remainder of the 2018-19 academic year. The pilot will further test and refine proposals, and will be used to inform the development of the KEF.
  • Thursday, 14 March 2019 (midday) - deadline for the KEF metrics consultation (online survey
 

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).

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:

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).

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.