Knowledge exchange

Knowledge exchange is a process that brings together academic staff, users of research and wider groups and communities to exchange ideas, evidence and expertise.

While knowledge exchange is often considered part of a university’s research activity, it includes a broad range of activities that share higher education knowledge and skills with those outside universities.

Those activities can include:

  • partnerships between universities and major manufacturers
  • industry-related curriculum development
  • work placements for students
  • graduate start-ups supported by incubator spaces at providers.

Our work on knowledge exchange

We are working with Research England to understand the impact of knowledge exchange activity at higher education providers.

This includes joint funding to explore the benefits to students and graduates of being involved in knowledge exchange activities.

Read more about the funded projects

We have commissioned SQW to evaluate the student engagement in knowledge exchange programme. We published two interim evaluation reports in April 2022 and one in August 2022. 

See the interim evaluation reports

The final report was published in November 2023.

See the final evaluation report

Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)

Research England have responsibility for distributing HEIF funding to providers which is used to support and develop knowledge exchange activities.

This funding is underpinned by the Higher Education Statistics Agency's Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey (HE-BCI) which is currently under review.

The OfS will be contributing to both the HE-BCI survey review and the wider review of knowledge exchange funding being led by Research England in 2022.

In order to demonstrate that the £48 million contribution from the Department for Education to the £230 million HEIF is delivering value for money, we commissioned a report with Research England to look at the key issues and methods for assessing the impact of this funding on student outcomes.

Further information about the HEIF is available through the Research England website.

Published 31 January 2020
Last updated 07 November 2023
07 November 2023
Link added to the final evaluation report.
03 August 2022
New interim evaluation report published.
13 April 2022
Link added to the interim evaluation reports.
02 February 2021
Details added of a Research England report to show HEIF is delivering value for money
16 April 2020
Added link to a letter sent to providers from Research England about HEIF allocations for 2020-21

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