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 has engaged proactively on behalf of its members throughout the consultation and implementation process of both the KEF metrics and the KE Concordat to date. 
KEF Timeline 
  • February 2022 - HESA announces re-start of the HE-BCI data review 
  • February 2022 - Review of the first iteration of the KEF metrics and narrative statements published by Research England
  • Late October 2021 - Evaluation of KEC action plans sent to individual institutions (see
  • Spring 2021 - Publication of the KEF metrics and narrative statements available on the KEF metrics dashboard

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 KEF 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, Head of Policy & Governance.

Background to the KE Framework 
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 which was led by Professor Richard Jones (Sheffield). It emerges from a longer-standing knowledge exchange framework initiative, started by the (then) HEFCE in January 2016. A key output 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.
The main metric for knowledge exchange is the annual HE-BCI 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. 
Universities in the devolved nations are not included in the KEF metrics dashboards but still contribute annual data to the HE-BCI collection. A number of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish universities have taken part in the KEC development year on a voluntary basis. All of the devolved nations are represented on the KEC Strategy Group, which informs the initiative's purpose. 

KE Concordat consultation response


PraxisAuril and ARMA have submitted a joint response to UUK's consultation on the proposed KE Concordat.

PraxisAuril and ARMA have submitted a joint response to UUK's consultation on the proposed KE Concordat, building on our existing engagement with sector stakeholders including Research England, Innovate UK, NCUB, GuildHE, PraxisAuril, NCCPE and UUK in the development of the KE Framework overall. 

HEIF, KEF and now KEC: welcoming the KE Concordat

Recently there have been multiple discussions about the relationships between multiple different acronyms. The latest 'kid on the block' is KEC - the Knowledge Exchange Concordat - which is published today. This has been developed by a group led by Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, supported by Universities UK and Research England and with contributions from several members of PraxisAuril. 

Time to Shine? KE professionals and the KEF

The title of my talk - ‘Time to Shine? KE professionals and the KEF’ - was a little tongue in cheek and maybe also a little provocative, but deliberately so because PraxisAuril members are not often visible when it comes to discussions about KE. And part of my job is to promote the expertise and experience that resides in the member network and can be used to really understand the dynamics of KE, particularly in the university-business context. The KEF will require us to examine the ways we facilitate KE and to think about innovative support modes and models.

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.

Research England launches Knowledge Exchange Framework consultation


Research England has today published a document detailing proposals for how the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) could work and would like to hear the HE sector’s views on these proposals. The proposals set out in the document aim to implement a Government policy priority for the KEF set out in the Industrial Strategy White Paper in 2017.