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

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


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Dr Martin Davies, Director of Innovation Partnerships University College London (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Session: Setting the Scene and Having Your Voice Heard

The day will begin with a 20 minute interactive session, led by the Chair, in which delegates will be able to ask questions, raise their key concerns and inform the Chair of what they would like to discuss during the course of the day.

This will inform debate and direct the conversation throughout the day so that attendees are confident that their most pressing concerns and desired learning objectives will be covered.


Morning 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 first iterations set out in the Knowledge Exchange Framework report published in January 2020 and the impact that the consulation and pilot scheme had on defining these
  • 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: Encouraging Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange through Business Incubators

  • Outlining the success of the University of Birmingham Enterprise programme including helping to establish over 120 staff and student start ups since its inception and encouraging over £100 million in third party investments
  • Understanding the impact that the University of Birmingham’s enterprise incubators, Bizzinn business incubator and the Biohub, has had on local knowledge exchange and innovation
  • Exploring how the University of Birmingham Enterprise programme established these successful incubators as a way of fostering enterprise and providing entrepreneurs with support
  • Discussing the future of the University of Birmingham Enterprise programme, including building on the current impact of incubators within the local ecosystem

Dr James Wilkie, CEO, University of Birmingham Enterprise (CONFIRMED)


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)


Case Study: Cultivating Strategic Partnerships to Foster Knowledge Exchange

  • Outlining how higher education institutions can established strategic partnerships to deliver mutual beneficial outcomes
  • Understanding the importance of communication within knowledge exchange and the impact this can have on fostering a positive and long-lasting relationships between organisations
  • Exploring how Imperial works with academic researchers to maximise the impact of their discoveries by stimulating, identifying and progressing opportunities to develop research and technologies through collaboration and commercialisation
  • Discussions the importance of creating and managing strategic industry partnerships between organisations that can be transformational for all involved.

Dr Rebeca Santamaria-Fernandez, Director of Industry Partnerships & Commercialisation, Imperial College London (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

Tracey John, Director of Research, Business and Innovation, University of the West of England (UWE) (CONFIRMED)

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


Case Study: The Northern Accelerator, a Collaborative Innovation Partnership Catalysing Research Commercialisation in the North East

  • Understanding how Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland universities have worked together to make a step change to the commercialisation of research, strengthening the North East knowledge economy and helping address regional imbalance
  • Outlining how the Northern Accelerator has been developed  to provide an integrated innovation ecosystem  that connects academics and business leaders and provides funding and business support, accelerating the translation of research into commercial opportunities, forming sustainable businesses and creating more and better jobs.
  • Demonstrating the importance of how support from the Research England Connected Capability programme is driving collaboration through sharing good practice between these diverse institutions and implementing KE processes to identify ideas faster, developing strong business models, engaging experienced entrepreneurs and management teams and building a regional University focussed investment vehicle to boost the northern economy

Dr Tim Hammond, Director of Commericalisation and Economic Development, Durham University and Programme Lead, Northern Accelerator (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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.

Research England published the Knowledge Exchange Framework: Decisions for the First Iteration which set out the framework will be designed, including the metrics and narrative statements. This document sets outs the proposed clusters including STEM specialists, Arts specialists and Social and Business specialist clusters.

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.

Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive Officer, National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)

Dr Joe Marshall is Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business, a higher education and industry network committed to enhancing the impact of university-business collaboration.

An academic specialising in government education policy and practice, he was a researcher at the University of Manchester and held senior lectureship positions at Liverpool Hope University and the University of Worcester. Before joining NCUB, Joe held senior positions at UNESCO, the World Health Organisation, UK Sport and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Alice Frost, Director of Knowledge Exchange Policy, Research England

Alice Frost is the Director of Knowledge Exchange Policy at Research England. (RE – one of the nine Councils to the new UK public funding agency – UK Research and Innovation).  She is responsible for knowledge exchange policy and funding at RE, and a lead expert at UKRI on commercialization. Her background is in national policy for research, universities, innovation and economic development.  Over many years, Alice has advised countries across Europe and Asia on the UK model of a third stream of funding for knowledge exchange.

Dr Martin Davies, Director of Innovation Partnerships ,University College London

Martin leads the Business and Innovation Partnerships team in UCL Innovation & Enterprise. The team works with large firms and SMEs in key sectors to extend UCL’s research into new areas and lead to new innovations with industry. Martin has spent more than 25 years working on business-university collaborations as a researcher, academic, innovation specialist, and director of university research and enterprise teams. He’s also been involved in business development in health and biosciences, business incubation, managing major economic development projects in London, and has set up his own spin-out companies in the biomedical sciences sector. Martin is a past Chair and Director of PraxisAuril. He originally trained in chemistry and has a first degree and PhD from Imperial College London.

Dr James Wilkie, CEO, University of Birmingham Enterprise

James joined the University of Birmingham in 2007 after 20 years in Europe and US delivering research, development and innovation within large multinational companies.

He is CEO of University of Birmingham Enterprise which brings new ideas developed at the University to market and also manages the operations of Birmingham Research Park which is home to a community of over 600 staff working for 60 enterprises.

James has expanded the remit of the Research Park considerably, and it now has two business incubators: the BizzInn, providing support for hi-tech entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs, and the BioHub Birmingham®, a purpose built bio-incubation facility.

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