Head of Data and Evidence, Knowledge Exchange: Research England

This is a key role in the Research England (RE) Knowledge Exchange team – you will develop a strong understanding of the nature and structure of knowledge exchange (KE) data and evidence. This will include the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey, the funding model for HEIF, and the Knowledge Exchange framework. You will deploy this to support policy and help devise innovative funding and delivery approaches. You will engage fully in policy discussion including with internal senior management and national and HE sector policy makers, problem-solve, understand and interpret implications in setting long term policy. To achieve this, you will work within the KE policy team and draw on colleagues from the RE Analysis team. You will be expected to contribute to commissioning of research and evaluation including making links and drawing on expertise of relevant external experts. You will also work on other projects within the scope of the Knowledge Exchange Policy team, including the next steps and long-term development of  KE framework, specifically on the provision of evidence for Research England to support the sector’s continuous improvement in their practice of, and engagement in, KE activities, as well as on the long-term comprehensive review of RE’s approach to KE funding and policy.


You will join the Knowledge Exchange (KE) Policy Team in Research England, UKRI. This team supports the higher education sector to enhance its work with businesses, public sector and local communities for the benefit of the economy and society. The team work to meet Government priorities to provide assurance that universities are delivering efficiency and effectiveness in all forms of KE, in appropriate ways. Working with colleagues internally, in institutions, with academic and other experts and Government and other partner organisations, you will develop and deliver policy across a range of areas of activity within knowledge exchange.

We use the term ‘knowledge exchange’ to cover the multiple interactions between universities and businesses, public services, charities and communities to create societal and economic benefit. These interactions include joint research and development projects, consultancy and training, knowledge transfer partnerships and setting up new companies and social enterprises. 


The KE team cover a broad area of KE activities - to make best use of resources and skills within the team and to ensure broad understanding of all aspects of KE policy, both specific and other responsibilities are provided below.

KE policy responsibilities

  • Develop and maintain a thorough knowledge of, and act as an authoritative source of advice on, knowledge exchange policy and interpretation of analysis with the ability to distil key points for a range of audiences.
  • Lead on policy on, and delivery of, methods and processes for allocating funding for KE working within context of overall RE KE policy priorities, focussed on formula funding including contributing to wider RE approaches.  This will include:
    • Supporting senior colleagues on the development of wider KE policy and funding, making recommendations on how policy objectives can be addressed, taking into consideration availability of appropriate evidence and institutional burden
    • Leading on methods to deliver policies and priorities, and their implementation
    • Working with policy and analysis colleagues in RE to ensure that KE policy reflects wider RE standards on data definitions/use and funding methods
    • Support the effective distribution of formula funding for KE (HEIF), working with colleagues across Research England through modelling data, responding to queries from HESA and providers, and contributing to the design and implementation of accountability and audits
    • Supporting senior colleagues on further development of the KE Framework (KEF), including advising on methods and approaches and leading solutions.
  • Providing policy direction on use and analysis of HE-BCI and other KE data to feed into RE’s annual publication and wider evidence (KE framework). This includes the production of the annual HE-BCI survey report and liaison with HE-BCI stakeholders, such as in devolved administrations/other UK funding bodies
  • Give presentations and lead discussions at external meetings relating to KE evidence and policy
  • Make a significant contribution to effective relations with HE institutions and sector bodies, communicating funding methods, answering queries and liaising with the analytical services directorate over data issues
  • Contribute to briefing and advice to Government/BEIS and senior RE and UKRI, taking a leading role in areas of analysis and evidence
  • Act as the main point of contact for queries from the sector on KE evidence.

Other responsibilities

  • Manage and develop effective relations with universities and other external organisations
  • Assess use and present accurately complex quantitative evidence in policy development
  • Problem solving using evidence
  • Contribute to design and delivery of new data and evidence, including through contributing to policy work with HESA such as on HE-BCI and through liaison with, and commissioning of, academic and other external experts
  • Play a lead role in the development and/or implementation of areas of RE KE policy as required
  • Work as part of the team to assist with consideration of evidence and analysis to inform research and evaluation and monitoring of KE policy/HEIF, including assisting commissioning external work and contributing to formula funding work in spending cases. Internal project management (including managing expert researchers and working closely with statisticians)
  • Represent RE/UKRI at external meetings and presenting to external groups
  • Contribute to UKRI policy and evidence working
  • Effective networking at events
  • Production of RE Council and relevant Committee papers and other documents
  • Develop effective internal relationships
  • Line management of other staff in the team
  • Delegate work as required.

Experience/capabilities required


Shortlisted candidates will have the following essential experience/capabilities:

  • Demonstrable excellent quantitative skills
  • Ability to work effectively with others at all levels, including with technical analysts
  • Ability to develop an authoritative knowledge of KE evidence, identify policy solutions and share knowledge and solutions effectively with others in order to make effective recommendations about future RE policy
  • An excellent communicator, with ability to:
    • Communicate complex subjects with people at all levels both verbally and in writing, in a clear, concise and fluent manner
    • And to work effectively with a range of stakeholders, including government, institutions and academic experts, represent RE and UKRI at meetings and events.
  • Ability to work flexibly to contribute fully within a team that covers a shared and complex workload
  • A proactive approach to solving problems within challenging deadlines.


It would be desirable but not essential for shortlisted candidates to have one or more of the following experience/capabilities:

  • Experience of principles of data architecture design, in order to take a systematic approach, seeking a diverse range of inputs in order to find solutions
  • An understanding of economic theory, in order to apply them to research and evaluation activity and contribute to spending review case development.

About Research England 

Research England is one of the nine Councils within UK Research and Innovation. As a key component of the research funding system, Research England will oversee UKRI’s England-only functions in relation to university research and knowledge exchange (KE). This includes providing grant funding to English universities for related activities; developing and implementing the Research Excellence Framework in partnership with the UK Higher Education funding bodies; supervising the sustainability of the Higher Education research base in England; guide the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund; and coordinate the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). Research England will build and sustain the conditions for a healthy and dynamic research and KE system in English universities. They also work closely with their counterparts in the Devolved Administrations. 

For more information about Research England, click here

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation. 

More information can be found at www.ukri.org.  

How we support EDI in the workforce 

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 

How to apply 

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

Additional Information

Closing date: 
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Originating organisation: