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 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 
  • Thursday, 14 March 2019 (midday) - deadline for the KEF metrics consultation (online survey
 

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?