What the second round of the KEF means for you

Introducing KEF2: what the second round of the Knowledge Exchange Framework means for you

The second iteration of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF2) was published last month, providing us, businesses and other users with a clearer understanding of how the University of Kent’s knowledge exchange activity compares to that of other higher education institutions in the UK.

Why is this important? Because knowledge exchange is the third pillar of  University assessment, alongside the REF and TEF, and has long been at the heart of our research and innovation activities. Knowledge exchange is any process through which academic ideas and insights are shared beyond the university, and external perspectives and experiences brought into academia – which includes everything from business workshops and graduate start-ups to commercialisation and public engagement.

Research England developed the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) as a tool to track this activity across English Higher Education Providers. The KEF groups similar universities into clusters, depending on size, research output, and specialism, and then examines knowledge exchange activities in relation to 7 aspects. Each aspects is measured in 5 quintiles, ranging from very low engagement to very high engagement. The KEF is a benchmarking exercise to measure knowledge exchange activities against peers in the cluster, but is not a ranking or league table.

The first iteration of the KEF (KEF1) was published in March 2021, and Kent was placed in Cluster X, which is defined as “large, high research intensive and broad-discipline universities undertaking a significant amount of excellent research”. Other universities in this cluster include Bath, Birkbeck, Brunel, Durham, East Anglia, Essex, Exeter, Hull, Keele, Lancaster, Leicester, Loughborough, LSE, Reading, Royal Holloway, SOAS, Surrey, Sussex, and York.

Our results for the second iteration of the KEF were published on Tuesday 27 September 2022. Overall, they reflect the amazing KE work being done across divisions at Kent and show that, while Kent has some areas that need development, there is excellent progress being made.

Now the Knowledge Exchange and External Engagement team – responsible for gathering the data which feeds into the KEF – would like to give you an opportunity to explore the KEF2 results in more detail. They will be hosting a webinar alongside the DVC of Research and Innovation, Shane Weller, and Director of Research and Innovation Services, Kerry Barber, to talk through Kent’s KEF2 results and what they mean for you.

Sign up to the staff webinar taking place at 2pm on Thursday 20 October

Following this webinar, you’ll have another opportunity to ask questions about the KEF2 at in-person drop-ins with Cat Tate (Knowledge Exchange and Engagement Manager) and Joe Jones (Knowledge Exchange Officer) on 10 and 11 November. Keep an eye out for more details about these closer to the time!

If you have any questions about the KEF or are wondering whether these sessions are relevant to you, please get in touch with the team at keinnovation@kent.ac.uk. You can also find out more about the University of Kent’s commitment to knowledge exchange on our website.