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The University of Southampton

Knowledge Exchange Framework recognises research, engagement and entrepreneurial achievements

Published: 31 March 2021
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The KEF emphasises the value of university research partnerships, public engagement and enterprise.

The University of Southampton’s particularly strong research partnerships, public engagement and achievements in entrepreneurial activities have been recognised in the results of the first-ever Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).

Southampton’s all-round high performance in knowledge exchange, combined with its global reputation for innovation and collaboration, is recognised through this exercise which places the University in the top 10 per cent of all universities assessed for ‘Intellectual Property (IP) and commercialisation’, ‘Public and community engagement’ and ‘Working with the public and third sector’.

Southampton is also in the top 20 per cent for ‘Research partnerships’ and ‘Working with business’ and has performed either at or above the average anticipated amongst a cluster of universities of a similar size and portfolio of activities. The results are presented online as interactive KEF dashboards.

Professor Mark Spearing, the University of Southampton’s Vice-President (Research and Enterprise), said: “I’m delighted to see our knowledge exchange activities recognised so highly amongst England’s universities and thank my colleagues across the University for their fantastic efforts in achieving such a sterling outcome. This is the first time we’ve been externally assessed for these activities and it’s clear from the results that our strategy for engagement through research, enterprise and public engagement is creating genuine and positive societal and economic impact.”

Conducted by Research England, the KEF is designed to help universities to better understand and improve their own performance, and to provide businesses and other collaborating organisations with information to help them access the world-class knowledge and expertise embedded within English universities. The KEF also aims to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of public funding for knowledge exchange and to promote a culture of continuous improvement in universities.

Work to create this first KEF began in 2017, when the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation commissioned the Higher Education Funding Council for England to provide more information about universities’ achievements in serving the economy and society for the benefit of the public, business and communities.

Consultation and decision documents published during the development of the KEF are available on the Research England website .

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