New Report: Knowledge Exchange and HEIF Funding
Monday 30th April
PACEC has completed a major report describing the state of development and future prospects in higher education’s contribution to economic growth and societal development through knowledge exchange. The report “Strengthening the Contribution of English Higher Education Institutions to the Innovation System: knowledge exchange and HEIF funding” draws on institutional strategies submitted to HEFCE in July 2011. These strategies set out how universities will use the £600m provided by the Government as through the Higher Education Innovation Funding allocation (HEIF)
The report shows how HEIs are becoming increasingly direct partners in the innovation process as well as playing an important role in supporting the underlying local conditions for innovation. The strategies demonstrate a sector that is dynamic in adapting to the large changes in the external environment as well as learning from experience about what works in an area where best practice is little understood and often requires customisation to internal contexts.
PACEC and Higher Education
Universities are playing an increasingly pivotal role in the development of globally competitive knowledge economies and progressive modern societies. Recent decades have seen an explosion in the number of higher education institutions and students around the world as mass higher education spreads.
This rapid growth has been accompanied by a broadening of the roles of universities in innovation systems. In addition to teaching and research, there is now a much greater emphasis on ‘knowledge exchange’ activity – the pro-active and ever-deepening engagement with firms, the public sector and other organisations to drive innovation and enhance the socio-economic impact of higher education.
At PACEC, we have been working for many years to develop a range of services supporting universities and policymakers in meeting the challenges presented by these global trends and exploiting the great potential of higher education in the 21st Century. As well as our extensive in-house expertise, our research benefits from close collaboration with the Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge and other leading academic experts on innovation.
What We Offer...
1. Strategy Development
Using a holistic innovation systems framework, we have developed a range of tools to assist universities in strategy development, aligning their teaching, research and knowledge exchange activities to best achieve their strategic objectives and maximise their economic development impact.
2. Knowledge Exchange Development
We draw upon a wealth of experience to develop tailored guidance on the development of knowledge exchange infrastructure and capability in universities, to maximise the benefits of external engagement with industry and the public sector, and increase socio-economic impact.
3. Impact Assessment
Our custom-built suite of analytical tools enables the comprehensive evaluation of university impacts on innovation, competitiveness and growth, as well as the social and cultural quality of life in the communities in which they operate.
4. Skills Development
By modelling the industrial demand for skills and the supply of appropriately trained graduates, and by understanding the nature of the skills gaps in industry, we can assess where skills gaps are most pressing and how universities can react to meet these needs.
1. Innovation System Development
We provide policy advisory services to help governments strengthen all aspects of their innovation systems. Services include innovation system mapping, identification of constraints to their efficient operation, system alignment and the design of incentives.
2. Policy Appraisal and Evaluation
We have worked extensively with governments and international organisations such as the European Commission and OECD to appraise and evaluate major innovation and higher education policy related initiatives and programmes. We provide our clients with clear evidence of the efficiency and effectiveness of policies as well as actionable recommendations to help them move forward.
Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Role of HEFCE/OSI Knowledge Exchange Funding
The UK Government, through HEFCE/DIUS, has invested approximately £700 million (constant 2003 prices) over the period 2000/01 - 2007/08 into building the capacity and capability of Higher Education Institutions in England to engage with external organisations. Through its Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) programme round 4, it continues to provide such funding with a further £340 million (constant 2003 prices) being released over the period 2008/09-2010/11.
In April 2009, PACEC and the Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge published the first major evaluation of the effectiveness and role of the HEFCE/DIUS knowledge exchange funding programmes (dominated by HEIF and the Higher Education Reach Out to Business and the Community Fund). This research was commissioned by HEFCE in late 2007 and was undertaken in 2008, involving case studies of thirty Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in England of different types, a survey of academics across these HEIs and a survey of external organisations that engaged with them. The report presents evidence on the extent to which this funding has helped secure direct and indirect economic benefits through changing attitudes and culture within HEIs and helping them develop the necessary capacity and capability to engage with external organisations.
- A very high proportion of academics engage in knowledge exchange activities with external organisations through a great diversity of mechanisms, well beyond technology transfer and well beyond science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines;
- Government policy, a dedicated funding stream through HEFCE, leadership and financial pressures have all served to increase the importance of knowledge exchange within the overall HE mission;
- Initial concerns about whether the emphasis on knowledge exchange would impact the traditional teaching and research roles have proven to be unfounded.
- Indeed, many synergies between knowledge exchange, teaching and research are thought to exist. Many academics are motivated not by the personal income they can secure through knowledge exchange, but by the benefits they can realise for their research and teaching activities;
- There appears to be a growing culture within HEIs that embraces knowledge exchange as a legitimate activity for academics alongside research and teaching, although it is still not fully embedded across the HE sector;
- Significant investments have been made into the capacity and infrastructure within HEIs to facilitate the knowledge exchange process;
- Knowledge exchange outputs have increased rapidly over the period 2001-2007, with total income from such activities reaching almost £2 billion in 2007;
- Between £2.9 billion and £4.2 billion out of the total £10.3 billion generated through knowledge exchange engagements between 2001-2007 can be grossly attributed to HEFCE knowledge exchange funding, either directly or indirectly. However, this almost certainly underestimates the true impact as many of the outputs cannot be easily monetised.
Following the publication of the Evaluation of HEFCE Third Stream Funding, the Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge has been given a grant to work with PACEC to undertake a series of research studies on the state of knowledge exchange in the HE sector. These studies will build on the evidence base assembled for the Evaluation. The research falls into five distinct areas focusing on key issues emerging from the earlier work, including: