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Just what is the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF)?

‘Knowledge Exchange’ is the wide range of activities we as Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) undertake with our external partners for the benefit of society and the economy. KEF then, is the assessment of these activities.

How it started

Developed by Research England, it sits alongside the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) which measure the effectiveness of public funding and the achievements of real-world impact. Work on the KEF began in 2017 -the first KEF results were released in March 2021 and are now published annually.

Why it started

The aim of KEF is to further a culture of improvement. It provides universities in England with information and data on their Knowledge Exchange (KE) activities for the purposes of understanding, bench-marking, and improving their own performance.

Furthermore, it acts as an information source for external partners. The KEF increases visibility and access to the world-class knowledge and expertise embedded in English Higher Education Providers (HEPs).

What's included

There are seven areas of activity measured:

·      Research Partnerships

·      Working with Business

·      Working with the Public and Third Sector

·      CPD and Start-ups

·      Local Growth and Regeneration

·      Intellectual Property and Commercialisation

·      Public and Community Engagement


For fair comparison in a diverse sector, universities are grouped into ‘clusters’ of similar resources, structure and capabilities, rather than performance.

London South Bank University (LSBU) is grouped into Cluster J alongside 16 other mid-sized, teaching focused (although research is still evident) institutions, with activity across Science Technology Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) and non-STEAM disciplines.

How did LSBU fair in 2022?

In KEF2, released in September 2022, LSBU considerably outperformed the cluster in:

·       Working with Business

·       Research Partnerships

·       Public and Community Engagement

·       IP and Commercialisation

·       Local Growth and Regeneration

We’re also excited to report that CPD and Start-ups was comparable across the cluster.

LSBU is delighted with the results of KEF2. Showing real competitiveness against the cluster, as well as a continued commitment to Knowledge Exchange. They results demonstrate the breadth of our partner engagement.

“We achieved very positive results, demonstrating ‘high engagement’ in five of the seven perspectives, this really highlights our strengths in working with businesses and individuals to help develop new innovations and skills.”

-         Alex Elkins, Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation - Read his full statement here.

How can it support my business?

By being able to find, research and understand KEF results means your business can ensure it’s working with an institution that has the skills, knowledge and expertise to match your own ambitions.

As an example of the way we can work with businesses linked into KE you may want to read about LSBU’s contribution to Knowledge Exchange in the Net Zero Sector or explore The Knowledge Exchange Framework for yourself.

To start exchanging knowledge with us today you can connect here.

Melissa O'Connor
Commercial Engagement Manager
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