On 28th February, the National Centre for Universities and Business is delighted to be facilitating an event in Birmingham looking at the future of the Higher Education Business & Community Interaction Survey (HE-BCI), with and on behalf of Research England.

The survey has been running since 1999, and is the principal means by which data on knowledge exchange is collected in the UK.

What does that mean?

Knowledge exchange professionals, tech transfer officers and university innovators will already know that this isn’t just a dry dataset, dutifully reported.

Measuring activity between universities and businesses and the wider community, and enriching our understanding of this activity, HE-BCI is valuable intelligence – burnished and enhanced by commentary, analysis of trends and global comparisons published every year. And parts of the data are used to inform allocation of the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) – a critical and proven driver of collaborative action.

The activity measured ranges from traditional forms of knowledge exchange, through partnerships with the public and third sector, the commercialisation of IP and the provision of continuing education and cultural activities with a positive local impact.

Why is it being refreshed?

HE-BCI is unique and is the longest-running longitudinal survey of its kind in the world. But as its data is going to be tested by the pilot results of the new Knowledge Exchange Framework – and as the nature of knowledge exchange has grown, matured and expanded over the last 20 years, as universities and their partners have grown more sophisticated and strategic in their interactions – this is an excellent opportunity to revisit the survey.

Practitioners will be keen to see the survey capture the breadth and depth of the work they undertake – without rendering the data collection process more burdensome. Whilst measuring, recognising and understanding the right things will be critical, comparability is also key; tracking changes and improvements will require a degree of consistency with prior surveys.

Why a conference – and is it for me?

The views of the knowledge exchange community will be critical to inform what happens next. If you have an interest as a PVC of Enterprise, a head of a KE team, a tech transfer officer or a team member of the above, then you may well have a stake in the future of HE-BCI and your voice will be welcomed at the table. For sign-up details, please see our Upcoming Events page.