Contact us on 0845 625 4825

Knowledge Exchange Framework Service

Helping universities to identify and develop research outputs through the KEF process 

Knowledge Exchange Framework Service

Guiding you through the Knowledge Exchange Framework

The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) is designed to give more information on how universities and other higher education institutions share knowledge, expertise and other assets for economic and societal benefit. Knowledge exchange is about more than simply start-ups and spin-outs, and can include everything from outreach, student volunteering, staff development, external training, and public engagement.

ProspectIP can help you to capture, record and analyse your diverse knowledge exchange activities and translate them into benefits and impact.

How is knowledge exchange funding currently calculated and allocated? 

The knowledge exchange functions previously administered by HEFCE have transferred to Research England (RE), including funding for knowledge exchange delivered via Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF). The HEIF has recurrent funding of £210 million in total.  

Funding is targeted at knowledge exchange where the greatest positive impact on the economy and society can be achieved, based on higher education knowledge and skills.

Research England calculates funding allocations by adding together a university’s main knowledge exchange income indicators over a three-year period, weighted towards the latest year of performance. This data is collected from sources including the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction survey; the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), and information from knowledge transfer partnerships. Allocations are re-calculated annually based on the latest data. This encourages dynamism and rewards recent performance, while providing some predictability. 

Income from knowledge exchange work with small and medium-sized enterprises is given a double weighting to signal the importance of working with such businesses, and also to recognise the higher costs involved. 

There is a minimum allocation threshold for all higher education institutions. Institutions that do not achieve a funding allocation of at least £250,000 per year through the formula will not receive an allocation. This is intended to ensure that funding for knowledge exchange is efficient and targeted at those universities and higher education institutions with significant knowledge exchange performance and partnerships. At the upper limit there is a cap of £3.895 million on individual allocations.

We expect that this method of calculating knowledge exchange funding will be amended as part of the implementation of the new Knowledge Exchange Framework. Keep an eye on the ProspectIP website for further updates!

Find out more

To boost your research commercialisation efforts or to find out more about improving impact and financial return from research please get in touch with us at or call 0845 625 4825.