Strengthening the knowledge-based economy

The University of Leeds is among the top performing higher education institutions in England for generating impact around its research, according to an analysis by Research England.

Research England – a part of UK Research and Innovation – has published its Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF). The framework aligns with many of the University’s key goals to strengthen the economy by sharing its knowledge with business, industry, community groups and the public sector. 

Leeds has a strong track record for undertaking research and development to improve lives around the world, with research that ranges from working with business and industry in the Leeds City Region to increasing agricultural yields in Africa. 

Central to that major research endeavour is public engagement – explaining the implications of research and building trust and accountability in the process. 

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, said: “Knowledge is the lifeblood of the University, with our knowledge exchange activities key to ensuring that our great research reaches the people who can most benefit from it. 

“Through research-inspired public engagement, student education and outreach we are helping to inform and inspire our local communities. And, by sharing our knowledge with business, industry, and charitable and public-sector organisations we are creating a brighter future for the Leeds City Region, the nation and indeed the world.”

KEF has measured knowledge-exchange activities in seven areas: public engagement; working with business; IP and commercialisation; local growth and regeneration; skills enterprise and entrepreneurship, working with the third and public sectors, and through research partnerships.

Compared with the other research-intensive Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, Leeds was in the top ten percent for public engagement, launching spin-out companies to commercialise research, and in forming partnerships with charities and the public sector.

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, said: “Universities’ engagement with society through Knowledge Exchange is an essential part of their mission alongside research and teaching. 

“The Knowledge Exchange Framework will help universities understand where their strengths are, relative to others with similar missions. It showcases a diverse picture of the tremendous work they do in their places, nationally and internationally.”  

To read the full article including the key findings, visit the University of Leeds website.