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LSBU continues to demonstrate its impactful contribution to knowledge exchange and commitment to working with businesses and community following the publication of the third iteration of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF 3).

Developed by Research England, the Knowledge Exchange Framework sits alongside the Research Excellence Framework and the Teaching Excellence Framework measuring the effectiveness of public funding and achievements in higher education which build real-world impact.

What is the KEF?

Work on KEF began in 2017, with the first KEF results published in March 2021. Data is collected annually, and each KEF compiles data from a three-year period to produce a dashboard for all eligible higher education institutions The third KEF was published 27 September 2023, using data collected primarily from the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction survey.

How does it work?

The exercise evaluates ‘knowledge exchange’ activity across seven ‘perspectives’. These are:

· Research partnerships

· Work with businesses

· Continuing professional development (CPD) and graduate start-ups

· Local growth and regeneration

· Intellectual Property and commercialisation

· Work with the public and third sector

· Public and community engagement

Universities are grouped into clusters, reflecting similar types of institution. For KEF 3, LSBU has moved into Cluster E. This cluster groups ‘Large Universities with broad discipline portfolio across both STEM and non-STEM generating excellent research across all disciplines.’ The data then allows each university to benchmark its knowledge exchange activity against comparable universities by assigning a rating for engagement, ranging from one (very low engagement) to five (very high engagement).

How did LSBU do?

The results (se diagram below) from KEF 3 show LSBU to have ‘high engagement’ in three of the seven perspectives:

· CPD and graduate start-ups

· Local growth and regeneration

· Working with businesses

LSBU's KEF 3 results shown per perspective

Our work with small and medium sized businesses in both consultancy and Innovate UK collaborative research, such as the GreenScies programme – continues to be a key strength and is a measure of the continued excellence we show in developing impactful partnerships with businesses, research institutions and our local community. This is evidenced in LSBU achieving the top rating of ‘very high engagement’ in this metric in KEF 3.

Our role as an active civic university which transforms lives, communities, businesses and society reflects our ‘high engagement’ scores in the ‘Local Growth and Regeneration’ perspective in KEF 3. This highlights LSBU's work supporting local business growth and skills development including Simulation for Digital Health which supported medtech startups to develop new innovations and our Aspire programme which provided fully funded accredited (Level 4) training to Londoners across digital skills, health and social care, creative industries and construction, creating a clear pathway to employment and career progression

We can also see improvements and benefits to business and society in the growth of our continuing professional development and short courses portfolio. This continues to go from strength to strength through programmes such as our government-backed Help To Grow: Management Course which has been recognised by the UK government as an exemplar in the delivery of this initiative.

LSBU’s support for aspiring graduate startups remains a key strength, achieving ‘High engagement’ in KEF 3. This is reflected in LSBU’s growing entrepreneurial offer through our Enterprising Futures team, which is consistently recognised as sector-leading, further highlighted by our recent award of being highly commended in the Times Higher Education 2022 ‘Outstanding Entrepreneurial University award’.

Overall our strong performance in this year’s KEF highlights how we are delivering against the aims in LSBU’s corporate strategy; driving research and innovation activity and building strategic partnerships to support our local community.

You can explore our full KEF results online now.

Alex Elkins
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