further & higher education

Knowledge Exchange in Higher Education: Performance and KEF Implementation

further & higher education

08:45 - 16:00

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer

10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only.

This Forum provides attendees with the opportunity to hear updates on the development of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) and the latest news on its implementation in 2020. Leading stakeholders including Research England, The Knowledge Exchange Framework Steering Group, The National Centre for Universities and Businesses and Innovate UK will outline the current landscape of KE and discuss the KEF pilot scheme. 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
  • Deans of Research and Enterprise
  • Directors of Research and Development
  • Directors of Research and Innovation
  • Directors of Business Development
  • Directors of Business Engagement
  • 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:
  • Alice Frost, Director of Knowledge Exchange, Research England
  • Joe Marshall, Chief Executive, National Centre for Universities and Businesses (NCUB)
  • Professor Trevor McMillan, Chair, Knowledge Exchange Framework Steering Group and Vice-Chancellor, Keele University
  • Dr Colin Cooper, Head of Commercialisation and Collaboration, Innovate UK
View the agenda and additional speakers

Science and Universities Minister Chris Skidmore announced that the Government is commitmented to raising research and development investment to 2.4% of the UK’s GDP by 2027 and therefore The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) was announced as a way of meeting this ambitious goal. In January 2019, figures released by the government showed that the Higher Education sector within the UK contributed £13.4bn to the UK economy.

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.

In January 2019 Research England launched a consultation on the proposed metrics for the KEF, the outcomes of which were published in August 2019. The consultation found that the majority of institutions that responded were positive about the overall purpose of the framework and agreed that it would provide better accountability for knowledge exchange activities. Research England also launched a pilot scheme in March 2019 and selected 21 higher education institutions from across England to take part in a variety of workshops. Both the consultation and the pilot scheme will inform and shape the KEF and ensure it is useful for all universities. 

With the Teaching Excellence Framework and the Research Excellence Framework having a profound impact on league tables, it is imperative that universities are taking all necessary measures to be prepared for the implementation of the KEF. 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.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

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


Morning Keynote: Understanding the Impact of the KEF on the UK Industrial Strategy

  • Outlining the current landscape of knowledge exchange (KE) in the UK and its role in the UK Industrial Strategy
  • Discussing how higher education institutions (HEIs) and businesses can work more closely together and the impact that successful partnerships can have on the UK economy
  • Highlighting the key aims of the Industrial Strategy such as boosting productivity and creating jobs and exploring how knowledge transfer will lead to innovation for science and research across the UK
  • Sharing guidance on how the KEF will incentivise universities to encourage collaboration and help meet the four ‘Grand Challenges’
  • Discussing how local industrial strategies will impact LEPs and university’s relationship with KE

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


Special Keynote: Outlining the Future of Knowledge Exchange for UK Higher Education Institutions

  • Discussing the outcomes from the KEF pilot scheme which concluded in May 2019, including how metrics were tested to understand their viability for measuring knowledge exchange
  • Outlining the impact the KEF 2020 roll-out will have on HEIs, including having to focus on improving KE activities as a matter of urgency
  • Exploring the practicalities of implementing the KEF metrics, including increasing local economic growth and regeneration through KE
  • Understanding how an increase in KE activities will allow the UK to meet the government’s commitment to boost research and development investment to 2.4% of GDP
  • Examining the impact of increasing the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) to £250 million by the end of 2021 and how this will help support knowledge-based interactions

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


Special Keynote: Effectively Understanding the Foundations of the Knowledge Exchange Framework

  • Defining knowledge exchange: understanding what interactions are classed as KE within the context of higher education
  • Understanding how the landscape of KE has changed since the publication of the  McMillan Report (2016)  including the emphasis on commercialising research
  • Exploring the aims and next steps of the concordat, including producing a consultation on the eight principles that underpin KE activities
  • Outlining the importance of consulting with organisations outside of the higher education sector to ensure that KE activities are appealing to funders as well

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


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Establishing Long Term Partnerships to Provide Wide-Ranging Positive Impact

  • Outlining how Loughborough University established a successful partnership with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to conduct research in to improving techniques and preventing injuries
  • Understanding how this groundbreaking partnership helped to underpin the ECB’s Pace Programme to improve player standards as well as prevent injuries common in bowlers
  • Discussing how the focus of the partnership has adapted over time to reflect the biggest issues within the sport, such as player safety and helmet standards
  • Exploring the wider implications of the collaborative research, including leading to further collaborations with the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) and protection for military personnel

Dr Mark King, Associate Dean for Enterprise (Sports, Exercise and Health Sciences), Loughborough University (invited)


Case Study: Successfully Establishing Mutually Beneficial Knowledge Exchange Partnerships Economic Growth Through Research and Industry Collaboration

  • Understanding how Oxford University and the National Trust established a two-way knowledge exchange partnership to create opportunities for interdisciplinary research and knowledge exchanges from across both institutions
  • Outlining how this partnership has had further implications for each establishment, including helping Oxford University establish the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, which includes the National Trust as one of its cultural partners
  • Exploring how this KTP has helped to establish 25 student placement opportunities and helps to support researchers and academics by providing networking opportunities with industry professionals
  • Sharing guidance on how this knowledge exchange partnership was established and embedded across the culture of both organisations

Alice Purkiss, National Trust Partnership Lead, University of Oxford (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Ensuring Mutually Beneficial Relationships Between Universities and Businesses in Uncertain Times

  • Understanding how it is vital that universities are able to create strong relationships with innovative businesses within the current political and economic landscape
  • Exploring the tangible gains that mutually beneficial partnerships can bring to both universities and businesses, including a 27% rise in industry income coming from successful KE
  • Discussing how universities can effectively articulate their role within supply and value chains as both educators and employers
  • Outlining how universities and businesses have been able to impact local decision making by creating effective partnerships at a time of decreasing government policy and political uncertainty

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


Special Keynote: Effectively Maximising the Commercial Impact of World Class Knowledge

  • Understanding the importance of collaboration and partnership working when creating commercially viable research projects between HEIs and businesses
  • Outlining best practice examples of how KTPs have been utilised to create ground-breaking research with the potential to have global impacts
  • Discussing Innovate UK’s Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) programme which supports academics that are looking to improve the commercial potential of their research
  • Exploring the importance of cultivating a culture of commercialisation within higher education institutions and how knowledge exchange can encourage this

Dr Colin Cooper, Head of Commercialisation and Collaboration, Innovate UK (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Encouraging Local Economic Growth Through Knowledge Exchange

  • Discussing how the University of the West of England established the £2.7 million Scale Up 4 Growth (S4G) programme through utilising funding from the European Regional Development Fund
  • Outlining how this programme provides support to local businesses trying to grow and expand by sharing knowledge from academics and industry leaders at Bristol Business School
  • Examining the impact this programme has had on the local economy and how it has helped to combat the challenges faced by growing businesses
  • Exploring how pioneering research into challenges effecting small businesses, such as infrastructure and leadership, was effectively utilised by the university and businesses wishing to upscale their activities, as a method to launch the S4G programme

Robin Halpenny, S4G Business Growth Partner, University of the West of England (UWE) (invited)

Winner of External KE Initiative of the Year at the KE Awards 2019


Case Study: Effectively Creating Innovation Hubs to Encourage Regional Collaboration

  • Outlining how Birmingham City University secured funding for the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England to establish STEAMhouse, an innovation centre aimed to encourage collaboration
  • Understanding how this innovation centre helps to encourage collaboration through networking events, production workshops and fosters relationships between members and industry experts with the aim of encouraging business growth
  • Highlighting how STEAMhouse will look to support small, new and emerging businesses within the area through the distribution of over £50,000 in grants
  • Sharing guidance on the success of this project so far, including the creation of 26 new research collaborations and over 1,000 visitors to the facilities per month
  • Exploring how this innovation hub looks to bring together the expertise of multiple disciplines from across science, technology, arts, engineering and maths to support growth within the region

Dr Steve Harding, Director, Institute for Creative Innovation, Birmingham City University (invited)


Case Study: Successfully Influencing Public Policy Through Effective Knowledge Exchange

  • Outlining how the University of Salford has worked with the Mayor’s office and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to tackle the problem of rough sleeping within the city
  • Understanding how the University of Salford’s involvement in the Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network has helped influence policies within Manchester
  • Exploring how this type of KE can ensure that policies are developed within a collaborative environment and ensure industry leaders are able to influence the development of these policies
  • Exploring the impact that the University of Salford has had on helping rough sleepers in Manchester to find accommodation, through sharing their knowledge of homelessness issues and guiding policy to tackle the underlying issues that can cause rough sleeping

Professor Phil Brown, Lead Researcher, Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unity (SHUSU), University of Salford (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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