Knowledge Exchange Framework

Knowledge Exchange Framework

The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) was announced as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy which, among other things, promised increasing funding for research and knowledge exchange.

The KEF is intended to 'increase efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public funding for knowledge exchange (KE), [and] to further a culture of continuous improvement in universities by providing a package of support to keep English university knowledge exchange operating at a world class standard. It aims to address the full range of KE activities'. It is proposed the KEF would have two strands:

  • principles and good practice
  • metrics

As defined by Research England, the purposes of the KEF are to provide:

  • universities with new tools to understand, benchmark and improve their individual performance
  • businesses and other collaborators or users with more information on universities’ individual strengths in KE
  • greater public visibility and accountability of university KE activities

A consultation on the framework closes on Thursday 14 March and covers the proposed clustering of institutions, the proposed metrics to be used, associated narratives where requested and the presentation and visualisation of results. The consultation also included a call for institutions to participate in a pilot exercise.

Pilot exercise (March–May 2019)

The University of Oxford has become one of the 21 universities to be selected to take part in a pilot scheme. The pilot exercise will feed into a raft of evidence, including from the consultation, on how the KEF will operate in England. Research England received an extremely high response rate to a January 2019 call for expressions of interest to take part in the pilot exercise, with interest expressed from every proposed KEF cluster across England. To reflect this exceptional level of interest, Research England increased the pilot group from a previously published size of between 12 and 16 institutions to 21 institutions. The 21 universities selected are drawn from all of the proposed KEF clusters, and represent a diverse range of English higher education institutions (HEIs), with a good geographical cross-section of institutions from across the country.

Research England will work with the pilot group to test the specific metrics and proposed narrative statements, as well as the cluster membership, and how results should be presented, over the course of five workshops between March and May 2019. Each workshop will focus on the different perspectives used for the KEF:

  • research partnerships
  • working with business
  • working with the public and third sector
  • skills, enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • local growth and regeneration
  • IP and commercialisation
  • public and community engagement

Given the timing of the 5 facilitated workshops and the spread of inputs required we aim to send two people to each workshop – a delegate from Research Services, and a delegate from a specialist team.

Governance structure

The University’s Knowledge Exchange and Impact Sub-Committee have approved a governance structure to oversee and deliver the KEF exercise. The structure will consist of a Senior Responsible Officer, an operational group, data group, and key stakeholders from across the University. Briefings and updates on the KEF developments will be provided to the wider University through RISN, RS News, and the Public Affairs Directorate.

It is expected that the KEF exercise will take place after the implementation of the pilot findings and KEF concordat consultation, starting in late 2019.

More information on the KEF as it develops can be found on the KEIT SharePoint under 'KE support'. Please email Stuart Wilkinson for access.  

News & consultations