A review of the Knowledge Exchange Framework

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Reflecting on the impact of the first iteration of the Knowledge Exchange Framework and how it can be evolved in the future.

Since the publication of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) in March 2021, the review of its first iteration has been an invaluable opportunity. Taking stock of the progress we have made so far, and to also consider what the key next steps are for KEF. The KEF review report shares these findings.

The review has been wide-ranging and delved into many aspects of the KEF. From evaluating the choice of metrics and use of narrative statements, to the underpinning methodology and visualisation techniques used in the final dashboards.

Taking such an approach has allowed us to gather evidence and feedback directly from the sector and to support the ongoing development of KEF for future iterations.

Positive impact

So, what has the review told us? Above all, the review has confirmed the positive impact KEF is having within providers. There are two key facets to this:

  • shining a much deserved light on the invaluable knowledge exchange (KE) activities across the sector and promoting discussions around KE within providers
  • improving the internal collection of robust KE data.

Both lay instrumental foundations not only for evolving the second and future iterations of the KEF, but more broadly enabling effective knowledge exchange across the higher education (HE) sector.

In particular, the cluster-based approach has enabled fair comparison of providers. It has also been instrumental in demonstrating the value of higher education providers of all sizes and specialisms and the contributions that they make to the UK economy.

Evolving the current methodology

But there is still plenty that we, working alongside the sector, can look to address and evolve moving forwards and the review has helped to identify how we can do so.

This starts with KEF2. We are proposing to evolve the current methodology and some metrics while we conduct further development work to identify potential new metrics for future iterations.

We will soon be holding an online survey to allow the sector to consider decisions ahead of the second iteration in summer 2022.

Since the initial development of the framework, engagement from providers has been integral to shaping a KEF that has maximum benefit to the sector. This will continue to be of upmost importance if the KEF is going to continue to evolve alongside the sector in the future.

Invaluable contributions

We are hugely grateful for the invaluable contributions from providers and the wider HE sector to the review, whether that be:

  • in responding in our sector survey
  • attending the perspective focus groups
  • sharing thoughts with us more generally throughout this process.

I look forward to the opportunity to reflect on the impact of the KEF and the findings of the review with the sector at the National Centre for Universities and Business’ (NCUB) ‘Knowledge Exchange Framework: a review’ event next week. I look forward to its next steps.

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