Durham University has performed strongly in the first ever national exercise that measures how universities share knowledge and expertise with businesses, charities, and community organisations.
Information about the ways universities help level up their local areas is one of the highlights of the data released in the first iteration of Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).
The data, available on the KEF website, informs a series of metrics that look at the performance of English Higher Education Providers (HEPs) from a variety of different perspectives.
These perspectives include public and community engagement, working with partners ranging from big businesses to small local firms, and how they commercialise their research.
The results show that Durham University has done extremely well in several high priority areas including research partnerships, intellectual property and their work with public and third sector organisations.
As a leading global institution (4th in the UK’s Guardian Good University Guide/86th globally in the QS World University Rankings 2021), the results place Durham in the top 10 percent for commercialisation, including the top 40 per cent for their business partnerships, local growth and collaborative research as well as in the top 30 per cent for their work with the public sector.
Durham University leads a number of business support programmes delivering growth and innovation to local firms by encouraging collaboration and engagement. These programmes are focussed on where their research and expertise can make an impact on business success.
The wider KEF data shows the rich contributions English HEPs make, both economically and socially, on both a local and national level. The knowledge exchange that underpins the KEF will help promote cooperation and drive continuous improvement in the higher education sector.
“We are pleased with KEF outcomes at Durham which recognise the real world benefits of our activities on our communities and society more broadly.
“We have invested significantly in supporting spin-outs from our academic community over the last three years, including through the Northern Accelerator Programme which has spun out 4 companies in the last year – all creating high value jobs and investment in the region.”
Over 100 of the institutions involved (117 out of 135) provided detailed narrative accounts of the work they do to build public and community engagement, and to promote economic growth in their local area.
This is the first time that detailed, qualitative information about how HEPs build community engagement and promote growth in their local areas has been collated in a structured and systematic way allowing for easy comparison.
The narratives paint a detailed, never seen before picture of how institutions such as Durham University engage with their communities to build deeper relationships and to stimulate local growth.
By Durham University