further & higher education

The Next Steps for the Knowledge Exchange Framework and Research Impact

further & higher education

08:45 - 16:35

Wednesday 13 February 2019

Central London

This forum provides participants with the opportunity to hear an update on the development of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF). Participants will discuss with leading policy experts how the KEF is being shaped, the process for its implementation and how this will affect the ranking of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). In addition to this, best practice case studies will share innovative methods of knowledge exchange and demonstrate how to build successful and mutually beneficial partnerships with enterprise.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Higher Education sector. Typical job titles include:

  • Directors of Knowledge Exchange
  • Research Impact Managers
  • Deans of Research
  • Deans of Research and Enterprise
  • Directors of Research and Development
  • Directors of Research and Innovation
  • Heads of Research Partnerships
  • Chancellors
  • Pro-Vice Chancellors
  • Principals
  • Heads of Faculty
  • Senior Research Managers
  • Research Support Officers
  • Senior Professors

This Forum is also open to the Private and Voluntary Sectors, as well as Central Government, in order to encourage debate and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Paul Drabwell, Deputy Director – Science, Research and Innovation, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Professor Trevor McMillan, Chair, Knowledge Exchange Framework Steering Group and Vice Chancellor, Keele University
  • Dr Emma Burke, Innovation Lead in Open Programmes, Innovate UK
  • Tasmin Mann, Head of Policy, PraxisAuril
View the agenda and additional speakers

The higher education sector is accountable for £21.5 billion or 1.2% of the UK’s national output, according to a ministerial speech made by Sam Gyimah in July 2018. This is more than the automotive industry, the defence industry or the advertising industry. Despite this, and despite the UK’s leading role in research, the UK is significantly under-performing in commercialising this research.

In order to combat this, in 2017 the development of a knowledge exchange framework (KEF) was announced to be implemented across the higher education sector, as the third of the ‘excellence’ frameworks announced by the government. The aim of the KEF is to measure and rank universities based on their level of knowledge exchange. It is anticipated that outcomes of the KEF will be linked to the allocations of HEIF funding – which the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy recently announced would be increased by £40 million, bringing it to a total of £200 million in the 2018-19 academic year.

Furthermore, the first four projects were announced in October 2017 which would secure a total of £20m from the HEFCE Connecting Capability Programme. This is in addition to the £25 million Research and Knowledge Exchange Fund announced by Research England, which would support innovative projects in HEIs.

Simultaneously, Times Higher Education (THE) will be developing an ‘Impact Ranking’ which will measure and rank universities based on their impact on society. This will be measured by considering how HEIs are working towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

In November 2018, Research England published three documents to help HEIs to prepare for KEF. This included a summary of the responses to the December 2017 call for evidence, information regarding the data that will be used to develop KEF and a report by Tomas Coates from the University of Cambridge, which outlines the diversity of the HE sector and proposes that initial clusters of HEIs be trialled. These clusters would group together HEIs with ‘similar sets of knowledge and physical assets’ and assess universities based on knowledge base, knowledge generation and physical assets.

With the Research Excellence Framework and the Teaching Excellence Framework already shown to be having a significant impact on league tables and the Higher Education Sector as a whole, it is imperative that HEIs are prepared for the introduction of the KEF and are able to demonstrate successful knowledge exchange strategies. This will require developing innovative models of knowledge exchange, building successful and mutually beneficial relationships with enterprise and developing an organisational research culture that cultivates research commercialisation and works in tandem with the Knowledge Exchange Framework.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

David Jai-Persad, Business Development Manager, Research and Knowledge Exchange, University of East London (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Building Partnerships between HEIs and Business to Maximise Impact

  • Outlining the significance of knowledge exchange in the Industrial Strategy and exploring how universities can contribute to this
  • Increasing HEIF funding to £250 million by the end of 2020-21 to provide universities with the resources to invest in partnerships and sharing guidance on accessing this funding
  • Outlining how £9.70 is returned for the economy and society for every pound invested in knowledge exchange
  • Outlining the first four funding projects and their role in enhancing knowledge exchange
  • Considering how funding may become linked more directly to assessment of knowledge exchange
  • Examining the impact building strong partnerships between HEIs and businesses can have on social and economic factors
  • Outlining the current state of knowledge exchange in the UK and how this compares globally

Paul Drabwell, Deputy Director – Science, Research and Innovation, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Outlining the Next Steps for the Knowledge Exchange Framework

  • Discussing the Knowledge Exchange landscape in the UK Higher Education sector and understanding the reasons behind the introduction of the KEF
  • Outlining the process and next steps for implementing the KEF
  • Understanding the aims of the KEF, addressing the UK’s under-performance in commericalising its world-leading research
  • Monitoring the performance of universities in relation to knowledge exchange and understanding the metrics which will be used within the KEF
  • Outlining how the increase in HEIF funding to £250 million by 2020-21 to support the Industrial Strategy will allow universities to work in greater collaboration with a variety of businesses
  • Sharing guidance on accessing Research England’s new £25 million Research and Knowledge Exchange Fund to support innovative projects in HEIs
  • Discussing the proposal of clusters of institutions with similar sets of knowledge and physical assets: how this would work in practice and what it means

Senior Representative, Research England (invited)


Case Study: Developing an Innovative Knowledge Exchange Partnership which Delivers Public Impact

  • Examining how Bristol University has worked in collaboration across sectors for over 60 years to enhance their impact in the region and become one of the UK’s leading smart cities
  • Outlining the Bristol is Open programme, an innovative partnership between the university, Bristol City Council and local enterprise to deliver innovative digital infrastructure across the city, allowing companies to test new technologies while enhancing public impact
  • Working in partnership across the city’s two universities, three NHS Trusts, three CCGs and the local authority to maximise and improve health research
  • Enhancing social impact through the British Green Capital Partnership to improve sustainability and become the European Green Capital in 2015
  • Offering guidance on strengthening knowledge exchange partnerships: challenges, solutions and lessons learnt

Dr Peter Ereaut, Head of Programme Management, Research and Enterprise Development, University of Bristol (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Time to shine? KE professionals and the KEF

  • Outlining the role of PraxisAuril in representing universities and research institutions that engage in knowledge exchange
  • Challenging the assumption that knowledge exchange is associated with technology transfer in particular
  • Examining the PraxisAuril response to the KEF Technical Advisor Group consultation: highlighting recommendations for an effective and successful KEF, including the development of a non-standardised assessment which is applicable across a diverse sector
  • Outlining the different ways in which universities can engage in knowledge exchange, such as through people exchange or developing publications aimed at non-academic research users
  • Sharing what successful knowledge exchange looks like and how HEIs can incorporate this into their research strategy

Tasmin Mann, Head of Policy, PraxisAuril (CONFIRMED)


Building Mutually Beneficial Knowledge Exchange Partnerships: the Business Perspective

  • Detailing how the National Centre engages with its membership base to develop a better understanding of the information businesses examine when considering working with universities
  • Working with Research England to advise on how the business perspective can be incorporated into KEF
  • Outlining key factors businesses take into consideration, such as reputation, transactional costs and individual academics’ ability to contribute
  • Considering how strategic partnerships can cover a variety of costs, such as recruitment, professional development and research facilities
  • Discussing how knowledge exchange should be measured beyond commercialisation through activities such as intellectual property and spin-out companies
  • Outlining how the nature and process of partnerships with large and smaller businesses vary and considering the benefits and shortfalls

Joe Marshall, Chief Executive, National Centre for Universities and Businesses (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Maximising Public Impact Through Innovative Research Commercialisation

  • Outlining the journey of Caristo Diagnostics from its origin as an Oxford University spin-out company to launching a ground-breaking technology to flag patients at risk of deadly heart attacks years in advance
  • Considering how Oxford University supported the development of the company from helping researchers to develop the original idea to instigating the creation of the company to commercialise their findings
  • Demonstrating the mutual benefits and public impact of KE activities: enhancing research opportunities for staff, increasing the chances of avoiding a fatal cardiac arrest and saving billions for healthcare
  • Discussing challenges encountered in expanding knowledge exchange activity, such as extending the role of the academic, and how to overcome these obstacles

James Groves, Technology Transfer Manager, Oxford University Innovation and Dan Green, Chief Operating Officer, Caristo Diagnostics (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Supporting Academic Staff in the Journey From Laboratory to Industry

  • Examining ICURe, a programme providing support for academic researchers and staff to commercialise their research
  • Funding 160 early career researchers and successfully creating 44 new companies
  • Enhancing the entrepreneurial skills of early career researchers and improving commercial awareness among academic personnel
  • Considering how universities can help to bridge the gap between research, innovation and commercialisation
  • Developing effective enterprise collaboration between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey through the SETsquared partnership, ranked by UBI Global as the World’s Top Business Incubator managed by a university

Dr Emma Burke, Innovation Lead in Open Programmes, Innovate UK (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Establishing the Foundations of the Knowledge Exchange Framework

  • Outlining the role of the Knowledge Exchange Framework Group in shaping the KEF and sharing insights into the KEF metrics consultation
  • Exploring what constitutes knowledge exchange and outlining examples of KE activity, such as establishing partnerships with non-academic research users
  • Examining the findings of the McMillan Report, for example that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and how this will impact the metrics of the framework
  • Outlining the role of the KEF concordat in providing self-analysis, clarity and improvement of KE activities in universities
  • Sharing insights into the how the concordat will look, such as avoiding overt focus on technical systems and research commercialisation, and greater recognition of a broad range of KE activities that yield a variety of outcomes
  • Considering the future shape of the KEF and the next steps

Professor Trevor McMillan, Chair, Knowledge Exchange Framework Steering Group and Vice Chancellor, Keele University (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Developing an Organisational Culture to Promote Knowledge Exchange

  • Examining the role of UCL Innovation and Enterprise, designed to create a culture of enterprise and build relationships which accelerate UCL’s impact
  • Providing different funding programmes to encourage the development of innovative knowledge exchange projects, secondments to industry and social enterprises and innovator-in-residence
  • Preparing for KEF through the development of the UCL Innovation and Entreprise Strategy 2016-2021: outlining priorities and how UCL aim to achieve these
  • Providing excellent training for students and staff to develop entrepreneurial skills
  • Helping over 250 students to create new businesses, 75% of which are still active five years on
  • Outlining the enterprise strategy which led to UCL Business, a technology commercialisation company creating a number of successful spin off companies, resulting in over £600 million raised in investment

Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice-Provost (Enterprise), University College London (invited)


Case Study: Accelerating Economic Growth Through Research and Industry Collaboration

  • Discussing the City Region Economic Development Institute, which emphasises economic growth at the heart of research to support regional economic growth policy
  • Outlining how the University contributes £3.5 billion to the economy every year, with every £1 million invested by the UK Research Councils generating an additional £12 million for the economy
  • Working in collaboration with a variety of businesses to accelerate business growth, optimise economic benefits, contribute positively to environmental policy and drive innovation across the region
  • Exploring the role of universities in providing a platform for digital entrepreneurs to network, collaborate and offer peer support

Professor Simon Collison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Regional Economic Engagement, University of Birmingham and Director, City-Region Economic Development Institute (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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