Posted Wednesday 27 September 2023
Kingston University's collaboration with industry partners, entrepreneurial strengths and wide-ranging engagement activity with the local community has been recognised in the latest Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).
In the recently released KEF results for 2023, the University has been assessed as having very high or high engagement in three of the seven perspectives – continuing professional development (CPD) and graduate start-ups, public and community engagement, and research partnerships.
The University has also maintained or improved its position across all perspectives in the framework, which also covers intellectual property and commercialisation, local growth and regeneration, working with business, and working with the public and third sector.
Developed by Research England as a way of assessing how universities benefit society and the economy through the knowledge they create, the KEF evaluates the range of activities institutions conduct with external partners, relative to other universities in a benchmark cluster. Data covering a wide range of a university's activities informs the seven perspectives.
The University has retained a very high engagement rating in the area of CPD and graduate start-ups, exemplified by its long-standing reputation in enterprise education. Kingston is consistently ranked as having one of the highest number of graduate start-ups among UK universities – a position it has maintained for the past decade. Each year several thousand students are engaged in action learning, hackathons and start-up competitions through enterprise education activity, in turn building a pipeline of entrepreneurial students who can go on to start a business.
The University also maintained a high engagement rating in the area of research partnerships, which covers work with business, charities, government bodies and other institutions ranging from joint grants to multi-partner research programmes.
In public and community engagement, the University has risen to the high engagement quintile, reflecting the institution's extensive collaboration with local authorities, creative agencies, charities, community and business groups across a range of projects as well as the civic philosophy of the award-winning Town House as a hub for the local community.
The University has also moved up in the working with businesses perspective, now placed in the medium quintile. Among the initiatives that have contributed to this improvement include Kingston's participation in the BIG (Business Innovation Growth) South London partnership, through which academics from across the University have worked on projects that have benefited a range of businesses in the region.
Collaboration with industry and sharing of expertise central to Town House Strategy
Dr Martin Davies, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Knowledge Exchange and Innovation, said the results of this year's exercise demonstrated the work being done across the University to engage with and support regional, national and international partnerships.
"Developing strong relationships with industry partners through which we can share our expertise and build on our established entrepreneurial strengths is a key focus for the University," he said. "The results of this year's KEF shows the progress we are making through our knowledge exchange activity and this is down to the hard work of colleagues across the University to achieve positive outcomes for our staff, students and the wider community."
This academic year has seen the roll out of the Future Skills programme to all first year undergraduate students, informed by the University's research and collaboration with industry. Growing the University's reputation as a leader in knowledge exchange and building on its strengths in this area was central to the Town House Strategy, Provost Professor Helen Laville said. "We're committed to ensuring our staff and students continue to benefit from industry partnerships and collaborative opportunities, as well as looking at how we can harness examples of best practice and share that across the institution," she said.
The majority of the data that form the KEF metrics is drawn from the long-standing HESA Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey, supported by narratives provided by the institutions that inform the local growth and regeneration and public and community engagement perspectives. It also incorporates data provided by Innovate UK and Elsevier.