Research England has today released information on a revised timetable for the roll-out of the KEF metrics exercise and provided assurance to HEIs about the use of HEIF funding for the current academic year, at a time when universities are providing vital roles in the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter, addressed to Heads of English HEIs, sets out measures to lower burden in the short-term whilst providing reassurance and strategic direction for the 2020-21 academic year.
English HEIs had been gearing up for implementation of the KEF with a first release scheduled for summer 2020 (based on latest HE-BCI data). This will now be pushed back to December 2020, with a comensurate delay to the narrative statements deadline until October.
Expectations relating to the use of HEIF allocations aim to ensure HEIs are clear that they are able to act flexibly to respond to pressures during the current academic year
2019-20. Universities are responding to COVID-19 by working on infection models, new vaccines, new antibody tests, training for nurses and doctors, making face masks, lending equipment, creating apps and volunteering in the community. All of these activities are supported by people from the knowledge exchange community, working long hours to get vital new developments or facilities out into the market or into the hospitals as quickly as possible and with the least fuss.
The Research England circular confirms that the funder expects to make HEIF allocations for 2020-21 "as usual" and updated policies and priorities for HEIF will be published in May 2020 as planned. More time has been allowed for the submission of accountablity statements and strategies for the academic years beyond 2020-21, and which form part of the next HEIF period.
A full timetable of Research England Knowledge Exchange deadlines is provided as an annex to the letter. A copy of the document can be found on the Research England website and will also be available as a link from the PraxisAuril KEF resource webpage. PraxisAuril will continue to work closely with Research England to provide a 'voice of the user' perspective on issues facing KE professionals during the current crisis and beyond. If you would like to discuss any issues or concerns, please contact our Director of Policy, Tamsin Mann.