further & higher education

The Next Steps for the Knowledge Exchange Framework and Research Impact

further & higher education

08:45 - 16:20

Wednesday 10 July 2019


This Forum provides attendees with the opportunity to hear an update on the development of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) and the next steps for the implementation of the KEF pilots. Participants will discuss with leading policy experts the current landscape of knowledge exchange and hear preliminary findings from the KEF consultation. In addition to this, best practice case studies will share innovative methods of knowledge exchange which foster effective collaboration between universities and businesses.


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

  • Directors of Knowledge Exchange
  • Research Impact Managers
  • Deans of Research and Enterprise
  • Directors of Research and Development
  • Directors of Business Development
  • Heads of Research Partnerships
  • Chancellors
  • Pro-Vice Chancellors
  • Principals
  • Heads of Faculty
  • Senior Research Managers
  • Research Support Officers
  • Business Engagement 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:
  • Alice Frost, Director of Knowledge Exchange, Research England 
  • Hamish McAlpine, Head of Knowledge Exchange Data and Evidence, Research England
  • Dr Emma Burke, Innovation Lead in Open Programmes, Innovate UK
  • Professor Trevor McMillan, Chair, Knowledge Exchange Framework Steering Group and Vice Chancellor, Keele University
  • Professor David Haddleton, Professor of Chemistry, University of Warwick and CSO, Medherant
View the agenda and additional speakers

According to Sam Gyimah, Minister for Universities, the higher education sector is accountable for £21.5 billion or 1.2% of the UK’s national output. Following the release of the Government’s Industrial Strategy ‘Building a Britain Fit for the Future’ in 2017 the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) was announced to increase knowledge exchange activity across the UK. The KEF is designed to measure the level and quality of knowledge exchange conducted by higher education institutions (HEIs) and rank them accordingly.

Research England opened the consultation process in January 2019 to allow higher education institutions, associations and organisations to share their views on the initial KEF proposal. This consultation will gauge the higher education sectors views on the proposed seven perspectives and the metrics that will inform each of these perspectives. It was also announced this year that Research England will also be running a pilot scheme from February 2019 to May 2019 with 21 UK universities selected from across the proposed KEF Clusters. This pilot scheme included universities from a diverse range of institutions from across the country and was designed to test the proposed metrics of the KEF and how they would work in practice. Both the consultation process and the pilot scheme are set to inform and shape the KEF to ensure that the framework is robust and useful for all universities.

In June 2018, Research England launched the Research England Development (RED) Fund to help HEIs to support innovate projects in line with the increased emphasis on knowledge exchange. This £25 million fund will provide targeted investment to activities that encourage collaboration between institutions, provide innovate approaches to research and knowledge exchange in HEIs and contribute to the Governments long term policy priorities.

In light of the significant impact of the Teaching Excellence Framework and the Research Excellence Framework on HEI league tables, it is imperative that HEIs are prepared for the national rollout of KEF and demonstrating successful knowledge exchange. HEIs will need to ensure that they are effectively collaborating with enterprise, fostering local growth and leading successful research commercialisation in order to meet the requirements set out by the knowledge exchange framework.

Dr Emma Burke, Innovation Lead in Open Programmes, Innovate UK

Emma is an Innovation Lead in the Commercialisation and Open Directorate at Innovate UK. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, the national funding agency investing in science and research across the whole of the UK. Emma leads on the delivery of ICURe-Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research-Programme. This UK wide programme aims to improve commercial awareness amongst academic personnel, to develop and enhance the entrepreneurial skills of early career researchers, and to strengthen links between academic and industrial communities. Prior to joining Innovate UK, Emma worked as a Product Development Engineer in the Defence Industry before moving into research management at King’s College London, and later Imperial College London.

Dr Ross Burgon, Head of Programme, SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology), University of Leicester

Ross has spent the last 15 years at the interface between research, management and knowledge exchange between academia and industry in the UK’s growing space sector and is currently Head of the Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology (SPRINT) programme at the University of Leicester. With technical domain expertise in spacecraft engineering and project management, Ross has worked on some of space science’s most innovative missions including Gaia, SMILE and WFIRST and the UK Space Agency’s first sponsored cubesats; UKube-1 and AlSat-Nano. Previous to SPRINT, Ross managed the Centre for Electronic Imaging (a collaboration between the Open University and high-tech space company Teledyne e2v) and was an STFC Innovations and Partnerships Fellow.


Registration and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Amanda Selvaratnam, Head of Enterprise Services, University of York (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Understanding the Knowledge Exchange Framework and the Next Steps for Implementation

  • Understanding what HEIs should expect from the introduction of the KEF and the next steps for implementation across the higher education sector
  • Discussing proposals for the shape of the KEF outlined in the consultation, including proposed metrics and how they will be assessed
  • Outlining how the KEF pilots will trial the proposed metrics for the KEF and test new quantitative methods for assessing knowledge exchange
  • Examining how KEF, TEF and REF all interact with each other and the implications this will have on HEIs
  • Outlining the role of the Northern Powerhouse in facilitating successful knowledge exchange and how this can drive economic growth within the region
  • Highlighting how the KEF will impact the humanities and the arts as well as the sciences

Alice Frost, Director of Knowledge Exchange, Research England (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session

Alice Frost, Director of Knowledge Exchange, Research England (CONFIRMED)

Hamish McAlpine, Head of Knowledge Exchange Data and Evidence, Research England (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Exploring the Importance of Establishing Mutually Beneficial Partnerships Between Businesses and Universities

  • Outlining the business perspective on knowledge exchange and the impact that collaborations can have on innovation within the UK
  • Exploring possible factors that businesses consider when choosing to interact with universities including reputation, geographical location and transactional costs
  • Discussing the need for universities to understand the needs of businesses in order to increase collaboration and exploring the importance of capturing user feedback in a business orientated way
  • Highlighting the importance of university and business collaboration when trying to create a knowledge rich economy and encouraging institutions with high growth potential to work with the research base to drive economic growth

Dr Joe Marshall, CEO, National Centre for Universities and Businesses (NCUB) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Exploring the Practicalities of the Pilot Scheme and Examining the Key Findings

  • Understanding the aims of the KEF pilot scheme including testing the specific metrics as well as showing how results should be presented
  • Discussing the challenges encountered in implementing the KEF and how HEIs can effectively overcome these
  • Outlining the key metrics being used to measure knowledge exchange including public and community engagement
  • Examining the findings from the KEF pilot and the implications of the clusters on the results

Professor Richard Greene, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Exchange), Manchester Metropolitan University (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Exploring the Role that Knowledge Exchange Plays in Producing Life Saving Innovations

  • Highlighting how the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) has become the most successful higher education institute for income earnings from its research through its business engagement strategy 
  • Exploring how this strategy focuses on partnering with organisations to provide innovative treatment options including a collaboration between the ICR, Merck and Cancer Research UK
  • Outlining the key partnerships that the ICR have formed in order to produce life saving drugs such as Abiraterone, which is used in the treatment of prostate cancer
  • Discussing how knowledge exchange has positively impacted the work that the ICR does and how it has helped to maximise economic and social benefit of research

Dr Toby Richardson, Associate Director, Business Development,  Institute of Cancer Research (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: UKRI Supporting Academic Staff to Bridge the Gaps Between Research, Innovation and Commercialisation

  • Examining ICURe, an Innovate UK programme delivered by the SETsquared partnership, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Warwick which supports academic staff who wish to explore the commercial potential of their research.
  • Looking at how the ICURe programme has helped fund over 250 early career researchers and assisted in the creation of 65 new companies which currently employ over 450 people in the UK.
  • Discussing how Northern Universities can help to boost the economic performance of the North by prioritising knowledge exchange, industrial collaboration and investment in talent and skills

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


Special Keynote: Effectively Facilitating and Communicating Successful Knowledge Exchange

  • Defining knowledge exchange: understanding what interactions are classes as knowledge exchange within the context of higher education
  • Sharing recommendation from the McMillan Report (2016), exploring best practice for knowledge exchange including methods of encouraging and incentivising entrepreneurial staff
  • Understanding the role of the concordat in providing best practice and a mechanism for institutions to define and evidence their knowledge exchange activity
  • Sharing insights into the shape of the concordat and how it will focus on the principles of good practice of knowledge exchange
  • Highlighting the parameters for creating a university knowledge exchange statement and how this can clarify the institutions purpose to funders and the government
  • Implementing practical strategies for knowledge exchange within HEIs through a reduction in one-size-fits-all policies

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


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Encouraging Collaborative Working to Deliver Outstanding Knowledge Sharing Activities

  • Examining the SPRINT programme, a collaborative project between 5 universities with the aim of supporting SMEs to develop innovative space technology
  • Discussing how SPRINT supports knowledge exchange through providing SMEs with access to the combined expertise of 5 leading universities 
  • Outlining how the £4.8 million programme will look to support 150 projects between 2018-2021 as part of Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund 
  • Highlighting the challenges of working with local SMEs, including limited resources, and how universities can overcome this by providing resources, training and specialist facilities

Dr Ross Burgon, Head of Programme, SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology), University of Leicester (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectively Commercialising Research Through Public-Private Partnerships

  • Examining the journey from conception through to private funding to establish Medherant, a spin-out company from the University of Warwick which developed the world’s first ibuprofen pain relief patch
  • Exploring how Warwick Ventures supported the Medherant team to prepare a business plan and how this led to a successful bid for funding from Mercia Fund Management
  • Highlighting the importance of collaboration and how sharing expertise led to the successful funding of Medherant
  • Discussing how private sector investments have led to the expansion of Medherant and how this has led to groundbreaking research into transdermal patches
  • Sharing the lessons learnt from Medherents establishment and how collaboration with Warwick Corporate Relations led to a successful spin-out company

Professor David Haddleton, Professor of Chemistry, University of Warwick and CSO, Medherant (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Encouraging Innovation Through Knowledge Exchange Partnerships

  • Discussing the award winning Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between UCLAN and Recycling Lives which aimed to increase efficiency and reduce the amount of materials going to landfill 
  • Highlighting the benefits of this KTP, including Recycling Lives making savings of £1.5 million a year and generating 1,200 megawatts of electricity
  • Examining how this project won the ‘Most Innovative Contribution to Business-University Collaboration’ at the Times Higher Education Awards in 2018
  • Sharing the future of this KTP, including the creation of a £670,000 research facility with the aim of commercialising the project and increasing the impact of theses innovative recycling practices 

Professor Karl Williams, Director, Centre for Waste and Resource Management, University of Central Lancashire (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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