There have therefore been two core challenges around identifying metrics that would allow the scale of KE activity to be measured, and in developing a framework through which the whole range of universities can describe and explain their own specific approach to KE. A technical group chaired by Professor Richard Jones of the University of Sheffield has provided advice to Research England on the development of a metrics-focused knowledge exchange framework, and proposals for a pilot study have been published.
This consultation addresses the second challenge through the work of a joint UUK/Research England task group chaired by Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor at Keele University. It is proposed that a KE concordat be produced that provides a mechanism by which universities can consider their performance in the wide range of aspects of knowledge exchanges and make a commitment to improvement in those areas that are consistent with their priorities and expertise.
The aim of this concordat is therefore to give universities and their staff and students clarity of mission and to support their development, give partners an accurate representation of the approach that individual universities are taking to KE, provide clear indicators of their approaches to performance improvement, and give our governing bodies and government broad confidence in the activity that is taking place in universities. It also aims to stress how collaboration between universities and partners in various aspects of KE can be beneficial to all participants.
In this document, a series of high-level principles are proposed that aim to cover the range of necessary underpinning activities for effective knowledge exchange. Within each there is a set of enablers that give specific areas that could be considered desirable.
It is important to recognise that the concordat does not provide a prescribed recipe for effective KE in all institutions and for all universities. Rather it sets out examples of good practice in processes and approaches that would enable universities to fulfil a knowledge exchange role whether across the whole spread of their disciplines or for particular specific activities and relationships. These examples have drawn upon the advice and expertise of the task and finish group.
It is hoped that the level and quality of engagement with the concordat will be taken into consideration by Research England (and other funders as appropriate) in evaluating requirements for the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and other KE funding. The views of funders and other stakeholders were sought in parallel to this document. This document therefore outlines the aims, principles, suggested enablers and the approach to implementation of the Knowledge Exchange Concordat.
Professor Trevor McMillan
Vice-Chancellor, Keele University
Chair, UUK/Research England KE Concordat Task and Finish Group
Chair, Research England KE Framework Steering Group