GuildHE welcomes today’s update from HEFCE on the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).

In particular, we welcome the fact that HEFCE has set up a technical advisory group to begin the development of Knowledge Exchange Framework metrics, and is calling for evidence to inform the work of the group.

At this stage, we are keen to stress that knowledge exchange covers a very wide range of activities and is not just the commercialisation of research. Social and cultural local engagement is equally important. Metrics that are developed must consider this point.

Excellent knowledge exchange is found throughout the UK and across the whole of the research and innovation ecosystem. GuildHE members are close to the industries and professions they serve and have a strong track record of knowledge exchange in areas such as agriculture and food; education; maritime; health and sports and the creative disciplines. The KEF and any associated funding need to recognise and reward this success.

The Industrial Strategy White Paper states “university technology transfer offices sometimes lack the resources and skills to fully develop commercialisation opportunities, particularly in institutions that have historically undertaken less of this activity” and commits to an uplift of HEIF.

However, current funding rules for HEIF arbitrarily exclude smaller universities and colleges. This limits their ability to carry out valuable work that would support government in its ambition to boost productivity across the country. Therefore we believe that it is essential to review the terms, including the associated metrics, of HEIF as part of KEF in order to maximise opportunities for growth across the whole of the UK.

We look forward to working with our members and HEFCE as the KEF is developed so that we create a framework that truly represents and celebrates outstanding knowledge exchange wherever it is found.

The KEF metrics survey is being run through the HEFCE website and can be found here