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Knowledge Exchange Framework 2023

University among England’s top institutions in Research England’s latest KEF results.

The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) is a metrics-driven assessment framework providing a range of information on the knowledge exchange activities of universities in England, and how they work with external partners for the benefit of the economy and society.

KEF results allow universities to better understand and improve their own performance in knowledge exchange.

KEF 2023 Results

The latest results place the University of Liverpool in the top 20% in the sector for Research Partnerships, Working with Business, and Working with the Public and Third Sector.

The results also recognise our high engagement in IP and Commercialisation, and Public and Community Engagement.

Research England place universities into comparable cluster groups. The University of Liverpool remains in Cluster V with the largest, most research intensive and broad discipline universities undertaking significant amounts of excellent research.

KEF’s interactive dashboards have been released by Research England, and can be viewed here. This includes new narrative statements provided by universities on the Institutional Context for KE, Local Growth and Regeneration, and Public and Community Engagement.

As well as being in the top 20% for Research Partnerships, Working with Business, and Working with the Public and Third Sector (for the period 2019/20 – 2021/22), the University’s performance exceeds the average score for the cluster. We are also in line with the cluster average for Local Growth and Regeneration, and Public and Community Engagement.

The University has seen improvements in several of the underpinning metrics which inform the perspective scores, due to investment and growth in areas of strategic focus. Income from IP has almost tripled over the KEF 3 period, and our income from contract research with large businesses, and the number of graduate start-ups has also increased.

Jon Hague, Head of Clean Future Science and Technology, Unilever Homecare, and Chair of the LCRCA Innovation Board, said: “Unilever’s relationship with the University of Liverpool is seen as a best-in-class model for how the company interacts with universities worldwide. The collaboration has become an established, high-level strategic partnership, combining the University’s and Unilever’s research expertise to develop new materials and formulations, spin-out companies and co-funding of cutting-edge facilities. We are very pleased to see these achievements recognised in the Knowledge Exchange Framework.”

John Whaling, Lead Officer - Innovation & Commercialisation, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA), said: “It is great to see the University continue to perform strongly in the KEF results. This highlights the success of our UK-leading place-based approach to innovation and highly coordinated ecosystem where industry, academia and the public sector work exceptionally closely together. We are excited about what the future will bring as we work with the University to develop plans for the Liverpool Investment Zone, Freeport and enact our Plan for Prosperity and reach the goal of Research and Development spending reaching 5% of GVA by 2030.”

Our webpages here showcase a selection of innovative knowledge exchange activities, projects and partnerships at the University of Liverpool that benefit society and the wider economy. These examples include our strategic partnership with Unilever, the LCR4.0 initiative, some of our high-growth spin-out companies and more.

Further details on KEF, and our past performance can be found here.

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Information for University of Liverpool staff

The University of Liverpool is committed to developing Knowledge Exchange that offers inspiring ways to address local, national and global challenges.

Further information about KEF and access to university-wide KE professional service support, including the all-new Research Partnering Toolkit, can be found on our KE support internal webpages here.


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