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Aston University recognised as a top UK university by Knowledge Exchange Framework

Aston University has retained its position as a leading university for knowledge exchange (KE) with strengths in collaborative research, local growth and regeneration, commercialisation of intellectual property and student entrepreneurship.

Conducted by Research England, the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) is designed to inform and assess knowledge exchange activities of higher education institutions and how they benefit students, society and the broader economy.

Aston University has been placed in the highest possible band for ‘working with business’, placing the University in the top 20% of universities. It is based on the extensive research and consultancy activities undertaken by academic staff and delivery of flagship national programmes such as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) where the University is a sector leader.

The KEF also recognised the scale of the University’s impact on local growth and regeneration particularly through its extensive portfolio of business support programmes in areas such as AI, design engineering, leadership development and low carbon. Future developments in these areas will include the creation of the Birmingham Innovation Quarter and Innovation Accelerator funding to support the health tech and clean tech sectors across the West Midlands.

KEF also recognised the role KE has in supporting students’ entrepreneurship activities building on the recent recognition from the Sunday Times where the University was awarded University of the Year Runner Up for Graduate Employment.

Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, said:

“Aston University is at the forefront of efforts to maximise economic, cultural and social value through research and innovation. I’m delighted that our activities have been recognised by Research England through this year’s KEF. 

“Our recently published 2030 strategy is building on this capability by steering the next stage of our evolution as one of the leading universities in UK – a transformational university that will be measured by the positive impact we achieve for our people, students, industry, businesses and the communities we serve.”

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Executive Chair of Research England, said: 

“Across the breadth of higher education, institutions make rich and diverse contributions to the economy and society through their knowledge exchange activities.

“Research England is delighted to announce today the publication of the latest version of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF3). The KEF continues to be a powerful tool to describe the breadth of scope of knowledge exchange. It also provides important evidence of different university strengths through peer group comparisons. KEF is now in its third year and the method has been rigorously tested and begins to give us a picture of changes in performance over time. 

“Research England’s knowledge exchange experts have presented some findings from KEF3 on comparative trends in the important government priority area of business engagement, as a taster of how it may be used as an analytical tool on sector performance dynamics. I look forward to discussion on how we can use the KEF further as we gather data over multiple years.”

You can find out more about the results here.

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