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   
  • 27 March 2020 - Deadline for eligible institutions not in receipt of HEIF funding, to confirm their intent to participate in the KEF. 
  • 29 May 2020 - Deadline for completion of the KEF's narrative elements (Institutional context, Local Growth & Regeneration, and Public Engagement). Research England narrative template guidance has been published on their website along with confirmation of the KEF clusters and their members. 

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 20 HEIs from across the clusters. 

PraxisAuril's contact for KEF-related matters is Tamsin Mann, Head of Policy. 

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


This is just the tip of our engagement however. Two of our members – Sean Fielding and Tony Raven – have been invited to sit on UUK’s working group for the KEF Concordat. This is an initiative aimed at university leaders, to drive endorsement of and commitment to KE at the highest level. It picks up on a key recommendation of the McMillan Review of Technology Transfer, in which PraxisAuril members were also 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. 

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 


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