The Knowledge Exchange Concordat, published today, will help universities and other providers of
higher education and research work more effectively with each other, businesses
and other organisations at a vital time as the UK continues to fight back
against Covid-19. It will provide a better structure for the sharing and development
of life-saving research and in-demand skills by outlining good practice and showing
what works, helping the UK economy prosper and enhancing society.
Knowledge exchange (KE)
refers to any action through which knowledge and
research is shared between universities and partner organisations and turned
into impact in society and the economy. The breadth of ways in which
this is achieved has been well demonstrated by the response to the current
Covid-19 crisis. The many contributions by universities, highlighted in the #WeAreTogether
campaign, includes vital research into tests and vaccines, protective equipment
has been developed and shared, healthcare students have graduated early and
enrolled in the NHS and university staff have used their knowledge and skills
in different ways to support the fightback and their students.
UK universities received
£4.9 billion from knowledge exchange activities in 2018-19,
helping fund activities to boost scientific, technological, medical and
knowledge sharing between universities and businesses will also demonstrate to
UK government that the sector is playing an active role in helping reach the
target spend of 2.4% of GDP on research and development by 2027. This in turn
will be vital in the recovery of the UK from the current crisis and ensure that
UK remains a global leader in addressing the challenges that lie ahead.
The concordat, which outlines
good practice and eight major guiding principles for institutions to follow,
has been drafted by Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor of Keele
University and Chair of the UUK & Research England KE Concordat Task and
Finish Group. It is delivered by Universities UK and GuildHE, and supported by
Research England, the National Centre for Universities & Business and PraxisAuril.
Amanda Solloway, Minister
for Science, Research & Innovation, said: “I welcome the initiative taken by the higher education sector to set
itself high standards in knowledge exchange and commit to a long-term programme
of continuous improvement, engagement and capacity building in their Knowledge
Exchange activities, through the Knowledge Exchange Concordat.”
Professor Trevor McMillan,
Vice-Chancellor of Keele University and Chair of the UUK & Research England
KE Concordat Task and Finish Group, said: “I am pleased to see the release of the Knowledge Exchange Concordat
today. Effective knowledge exchange activities increase the impact of university
research and education, and our responsibilities to social development and
economic growth. The concordat provides a framework in which our universities
can have the approaches in place to facilitate our staff and students to
continue to have a major impact.”
Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “Effective knowledge exchange, driven by our
world-leading universities, will ensure the development of key skills that will
drive productivity and support new business.
will support universities to promote the many different forms of knowledge
exchange and business partnerships that make our diverse sector so impactful.
The way UK institutions are working alongside UK government and industry to
fight coronavirus is indicative of the excellent work already being done in
Gordon McKenzie, Chief Executive
Officer of GuildHE, said: “We are
pleased to be launching the Knowledge Exchange Concordat with Universities UK.
Small and specialist institutions play vital roles in local, national and
international knowledge exchange ecosystems by working with businesses and
other organisations large and small to deliver social, cultural and economic
benefits. We look forward to supporting our members and the wider sector
in embedding the Concordat's principles."
David Sweeney, Executive
Chair of Research England, said: “I
am pleased to see the publication of the KE concordat and very much welcome that
its development has been sector-led.
“The concordat provides the
means to continuously improve institutional KE performance and I see it as
critical in assurance of our funding, especially driving efficiency and effectiveness.”
Joe Marshall, CEO of the National
Centre for Universities and Business,
said: “Universities’ knowledge exchange activities play an incredibly
important role in attracting, supporting and enhancing businesses and other
organisations. The Concordat is an important vehicle for universities to
proactively show their commitment to collaboration with others and demonstrate
to external partners that through self-improvement they want to build better
and deeper partnerships.”
A high-level implementation plan, supporting this publication,
will be published later in the year.
Universities UK (UUK) is the collective voice of 136 universities
in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its mission is to create
the conditions for UK universities to be the best in the world; maximising
their positive impact locally, nationally and globally. Universities UK
acts on behalf of universities, represented by their heads of institution.
GuildHE is an officially recognised representative body for UK
Higher Education. Members are universities, university colleges and other
institutions, each with a distinctive mission and priorities. They work
closely with industries and professions and include major providers in
technical and professional subject areas such as art, design and media,
music and the performing arts; agriculture, food and the natural
environment; the built environment; education; law; health and sports.
Many are global organisations engaged in significant partnerships and
producing locally relevant and world-leading research. Visit: www.guildhe.ac.uk
The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) is an
independent and not-for-profit membership organisation that promotes,
develops and supports university-business collaboration across
the UK. Visit: www.ncub.co.uk
Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation, is
responsible for funding, engaging with and understanding English higher
education providers. They create and sustain the conditions for a healthy
and dynamic research and knowledge exchange system in the higher education
sector. Visit: re.ukri.org
PraxisAuril is a world-leading professional association for
Knowledge Exchange practitioners with an extensive network of more than 5,000
knowledge exchange professionals from more than 182 member organisations,
as well as key sector stakeholders and industry experts. The organisation
has provided a great deal of support and advice for the Knowledge Exchange
Concordat and will help in developing and implementing the next steps.