Public Engagement and the KEF

The role of public engagement in the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).

Table of contents

The idea of a Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) was first floated in 2017 by the UK government, who wanted more information about how Higher Education Providers (HEPs) were serving the economy and society for the benefit of publics, businesses and communities. The KEF was piloted by Research England with a sample of providers during Spring 2019. The first full process was finalised in 2020, with participating institutions requested to submit narrative statements by October 2020 and publication in March 2021.

Categorising approaches to P&CE activity in the KEF narratives

Categorising approaches to P&CE activity in the KEF narratives

Public and Community Engagement is included as one of seven ‘perspectives’, alongside (for instance) Research Partnerships and Working with Business.

The majority of data is drawn from existing mechanisms for gathering data from universities about their knowledge exchange activities e.g., the Higher Education Business and Community Interactions (HE-BCI) survey, which is an annual survey for institutions run by HESA. However, due to a lack of reliable and relevant data that could be used to inform the Public and Community Engagement perspective, institutions were invited to complete a self-assessment against five criteria, and to submit a 2000-word narrative, to provide the context for their work and evidence to support the self-assessment scores.

The NCCPE was actively involved in helping to shape this approach, and in piloting it with the sector. The key resources we have produced over the last three years are listed below.

In late 2021 we began a thematic review of the 117 submitted narratives. The review revealed rich intelligence about how the English university sector is currently organising its work to support public and community engagement. it explored their strategic approaches; the kinds of support they are investing in; the types of activities they deliver; and the ways in which they are monitoring and evaluating both their practice and their institutional support.

You can access the report by clicking on the link below.

Read 'Public and Community Engagement in the KEF: A thematic review'


NCCPE KEF resources

Consultation responses