Westminster Higher Education Forum

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Next steps for knowledge exchange in HE and research in the UK

Morning, Thursday, 25th April 2024


This conference focuses on the future of knowledge exchange in the UK.


Delegates will examine the direction, development and use of knowledge exchange metrics, looking at priorities for policy and funding to support the UK’s continued evolution as a centre for knowledge exchange.


The conference follows the release of KEF3 in September 2023, which emphasised the role of commercial collaborations in generating economic returns for university research departments.


Those attending will consider steps being taken by educational institutions and funding bodies to improve the quality and quantity of knowledge exchange within and between HEIs.


They will discuss:

  • KEF3’s current use of metrics for informing its seven perspectives, and its five quintile mode of assessment
  • enhancing processes for knowledge exchange within the context of Research England’s 2022-2025 Strategic Delivery Plan, including:
    • Research England’s review of knowledge exchange funding, and consultations launched in 2022-2023 regarding best methods for enhancing modes of exchange
    • collaboration between Research England and HESA to expand the national database for spin-out companies

Further sessions will assess approaches for developing innovative knowledge exchange strategies within universities and improving university-business collaboration.


It follows government responses to both the Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies, published by DSIT and HM Treasury in November 2023, and the Research, Development and Innovation Organisational Landscape: Independent Review, led by Sir Paul Nurse.


The Government concurred with recommendations from both reviews on a need to improve mobility between areas of innovation in UK universities, and to maintain Britain’s competitiveness as a centre for international talent and knowledge exchange practices by increasing collaborations with commercial partners.  


We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Graeme Dey MSP, Minister for Higher and Further Education, Scottish Government; Ellen Bamford, Head of Knowledge Exchange Data and Evidence, Research England; Tomas Ulrichsen, Director, Policy Evidence Unit for University Commercialisation and Innovation, University of Cambridge; Dan Cook, Deputy Director, Higher Education Statistics Agency; and Professor Arlene Holmes-Henderson, Professor of Classics Education and Public Policy, Durham University.


Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • creating impactful knowledge exchange strategies - encouraging innovation and collaboration between HEIs and external partners
  • how best to utilise the full breadth of knowledge exchange approaches used by HEIs - improving the targeting of funding and the UK’s framework for knowledge exchange metrics
  • assessing results of KEF3 - what can be learned from trends over time - priorities and options for provider inclusion in later iterations
  • exploring how the public benefit of knowledge exchange in R&I can be maximised, including for levelling up ambitions

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DAERA, NI; Department for the Economy, NI; DLUHC; GO-Science; IPO; UKHSA; and The Scottish Government.



Keynote Speakers

Ellen Bamford

Head of Knowledge Exchange Data and Evidence, Research England

Tomas Ulrichsen

Director, Policy Evidence Unit for University Commercialisation and Innovation, University of Cambridge

Professor Arlene Holmes-Henderson

Professor of Classics Education and Public Policy, Durham University

Keynote Speakers

Ellen Bamford

Head of Knowledge Exchange Data and Evidence, Research England

Graeme Dey MSP

Minister for Higher and Further Education, Scottish Government

Professor Arlene Holmes-Henderson

Professor of Classics Education and Public Policy, Durham University

Dan Cook

Deputy Director, Higher Education Statistics Agency

Tomas Ulrichsen

Director, Policy Evidence Unit for University Commercialisation and Innovation, University of Cambridge

Chair

Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe

Speakers

Ceri Nursaw

Chief Executive, National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education

Helen Lau

Director of Business Engagement and Research Impact, University of Birmingham

Natalie Campion

Chief Executive Officer, Kevri

Greg Wade

Head of Innovation Policy, Universities UK