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UAL selected for national Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) pilot

Written by Cat Cooper
Published date 07 February 2019

Following strong interest from across the sector, UAL is one of 21 English universities selected to take part in a pilot Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) exercise which will run in the current academic year.

Universities in England are gearing up for the introduction of the new national framework next year (2019/20). It is intended to provide a comparative evaluation of universities’ Knowledge Exchange (KE) performance – measuring the public benefit of Universities, and how they are serving the economy and society through the application of their specialist knowledge and expertise.

Selected by Research England who are responsible for developing the KEF, the 21 universities represent a diverse range of English higher education institutions from across the country. UAL is clustered in the pilot under the category of ‘Arts specialists’, which will also include Arts University Bournemouth and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. The pilot will provide evidence to road test and inform the final design of the Framework later this year.

UAL Director of Knowledge Exchange Alisdair Aldous:

We are really pleased to be representing the sector and the specialist area of arts and design. It’s a great opportunity to work with our fellow creative universities and Research England to understand the likely requirements of the Framework and prepare for its introduction.

UAL is already at the forefront in embedding Knowledge Exchange as a key strand of the University’s strategy and our selection for the pilot is hopefully reflective of the strength of our executive-level commitment to this activity.

Knowledge Exchange at UAL incorporates a wide variety of academic-led and impact-driven activities that UAL jointly delivers with public, private, third sector and local community organsiations. UAL is one of only a small number of universities offering a Knowledge Exchange Academic Career Pathway, recognising and rewarding staff whose expertise lies in delivering real value across our networks of industry, government, and community partners, as well as delivering transformative external engagement opportunities for our students and graduates.

UAL has long-term strategic partnerships with the Kering and LVMH groups, and has recently worked on innovation projects with a spread of globally-recognised brands including Renault, Twentieth Century Fox, Lucasfilm, Google Arts & Culture, ASOS, Decathlon, Microsoft, as well as an extensive range of smaller businesses.  Much of UAL’s KE activity is also driven by the desire to create positive social impact, and so has also involved projects with various London Borough Councils, local community groups, and international charities.

Research England is currently consulting on proposals around how the KEF will work, and Knowledge Exchange is a Government policy priority, as set out in the Industrial Strategy White Paper in 2017.