Knowledge Exchange (KE) covers a wide range of different types of activities between universities and external businesses, charities and other organisations to deliver societal and economic benefits. HEFCE has been tasked by the government to develop a KE Framework for universities to assess performance and identify examples of good practice in KE. As part of this work, IP Pragmatics was appointed to look at tools for benchmarking within the KE framework, and carry out a small scale expert study to test key areas in development of a set of benchmarking indicators and a benchmarking tool for knowledge exchange within higher education institutions.
We have identified a number of challenges facing useful KE benchmarking, not least in identifying the right comparator group that share similar underlying characteristics such as size, research mix and location, and can be used to provide realistic but challenging targets for improvement.
Current approaches, for example using the HE-BCI survey, often use a straightforward ranking approach. However, we found that it was more helpful to normalise the data through various methods such as accounting for the number of academics or the level of research in a particular university. We have proposed a handful of benchmarking indicators for further investigation which might be feasible, workable and useful to the higher education KE community, and which together cover several different aspects of KE activity. In particular, we looked at what could be achieved without putting additional data collection burdens on the HEI community.
The full report of our study can be downloaded here.
If you would like any further information on the report please contact Elaine Eggington.