The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) consultation, which closed today, offered an opportunity for higher education, business and other users and stakeholders to weigh in on the development of what is a bold attempt to evaluate the contribution UK higher education institutions make to the deployment of the knowledge they create.

Through work with business, local actors and the public and third sectors, universities are making critical – but at times under-recognised – contributions to a hugely diverse range of partnerships. We know that knowledge exchange is maturing rapidly, and that methods and processes presently in place don’t always capture the breadth of activity currently taking place. The KEF is an attempt to remedy that, and reflect – for example – the sort of place-rooted or publicly-engaged activities which can often go under-reported.

Our strategic advisor Graeme Reid and Hamish McAlpine, Head of KE Data and Analysis at Research England, have already written on the importance of the KEF’s relatability to business. In our high level response to the consultation, published below, we draw on our interactions with members across our programme of round tables in the autumn – and other discussions – to:

  • Emphasise the importance of KEF’s utility to business and other users;
  • Stress that a variety of metrics should be drawn down to inform the KEF, to best reflect activity which derives non-financial impacts, including through narrative statements;
  • And press for the real breadth of activity being undertaken by universities to be taken fully into account.

These and other reflections are laid out in the full document below.

NCUB will continue to work with Research England and our members to inform the development of the KEF, including through relating business perspectives; we look forward to sharing more information in due course. If you have any questions or comments on our programme of KE work, please get in touch.