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 in January 2019 and a pilot exercise involving around 20 HEIs. The outcomes of the consultation and pilot exercise will be published in 2020. 
 
PraxisAuril's contact for KEF-related matters is Tamsin Mann, Head of Policy. 

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).

Research England announces cluster institutions for the KEF pilot

Research England has selected 21 English universities to take part in a pilot Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), which will run between February and May 2019. The pilot exercise will feed into a raft of evidence, including from a consultation, on how the KEF will operate in England. Research England said that they received an extremely high response rate to a January 2019 call for expressions of interest to take part in the pilot exercise, with interest expressed from every proposed KEF cluster across England.

KEF dashboard demo

Research England has released a video walk-through of prototype KEF dashboards that show how KEF data might be visualised. The dashboards were produced by Jisc Analytics Labs between May and October 2018. This demonstration has been released as part of Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Framework consultation and should be viewed in conjunction with the consultation documentation. These dashboards focus on making key KEF measures more accessible so that institutions can understand, compare and improve their own performance.

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.