Leicester celebrates Knowledge Exchange Framework success

The University of Leicester’s position as a leading research institution that drives innovation and growth in its local area has been recognised by Research England (RE), after the release of this year’s Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) results.

Leicester has been ranked within the top 10% of UK Universities for Local Growth & Regeneration, and in the top 20% for Research Partnerships and Working with the Public & Third Sector.

The University’s exemplary commitment to knowledge exchange and partnership has been showcased through its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly through its collaboration with Leicester’s Hospitals. The University’s work within the community to help curb the spread of the disease and tackle vaccine hesitancy has also been recognised.

In addition, the opening of Space Park Leicester (SPL), a major collaborative partnership with local, national and international industrial partners, will help to position the East Midlands as a central hub for the space industry, and play a key role in attracting new businesses to Leicester, supporting the post-COVID economic recovery of the region.

Professor Philip Baker, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Leicester said: “The KEF reinforces our commitment to working closely with our external partners to maximise the impact of our research and ensure that it creates positive change in economies, culture, communities and global society. 

“Our ambitious plans for innovation and enterprise, including Space Park Leicester, drawing on our world-leading research strengths, will continue to play a key role in boosting productivity, job creation and the post COVID economic recovery of the region.”

Through Leicester’s pioneering work in clinical research, public engagement with local faith centres around ethnic health, and industry, the University’s researchers are establishing best practice protocols in managing the care of COVID-19 patients and helping to curb the spread of the disease.

The KEF framework provides detailed, qualitative information about how Universities build community engagement and promote growth in their local areas. It is the first time that such information has been collected together in a structured and systematic way. 

Chief Executive Officer of UK Research and Innovation Dame Ottoline Leyser said: “UKRI values the diverse and varied contributions that our higher education institutions make to society. The Knowledge Exchange Framework, published today by Research England, reflects and celebrates this diversity. 

“The KEF also brings together rich accounts of how our universities engage in their local areas, contributing in varied and often innovative ways to their local communities and economies. As well as researchers and innovators, the activities captured in the framework highlight the diversity of essential roles - from technicians and project managers, to technology transfer professionals - in connecting discovery to prosperity and public good.”  

Executive Chair of Research England David Sweeney said: “Universities’ engagement with society through Knowledge Exchange is an essential part of their mission alongside research and teaching. 

“The Knowledge Exchange Framework will help universities understand where their strengths are, relative to others with similar missions. It showcases a diverse picture of the tremendous work they do in their places, nationally and internationally.”