Knowledge exchange

A young boy watched a science demonstration

At Lancaster University, we engage with others to use our collective knowledge and expertise as a force for good, creating positive economic, cultural, societal and environmental change.

What is knowledge exchange?

Knowledge exchange is a two-way exchange between researchers and research users, to share ideas, evidence, research, experiences and skills. It refers to any process through which academic ideas and insights are shared, and external perspectives and experiences are brought into academia for mutual benefit.

The Knowledge Exchange Framework is a great way to showcase Lancaster University’s strengths around partnerships and engagement, all with the aim of translating our activity to benefit wider society.

A quote from Dion Williams Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation at Lancaster University

Knowledge exchange in action

Lancaster University is rated highly in the 2021, 2022 and 2023 Knowledge Exchange Framework assessments.

Read our knowledge exchange case studies to discover how our collaborative research, education, business, and engagement projects are making a difference.

Knowledge Exchange Framework 2023

According to Lancaster University's own analysis of the KEF 2023 results, the University is ranked joint 16th - alongside institutions including Oxford University and The University of Manchester - out of 139 higher education institutions.

Lancaster University’s analysis of the findings suggest it is in the top 20% for working with businesses, local growth and regeneration and working with the public and third sector, scoring the maximum of5 out of 5 in these areas. Lancaster has worked with more than 15,000 businesses from start-ups to multi-national corporations.

The KEF3 results also reveal Lancaster's 'high engagement' for research partnerships and Intellectual Property and commercialisation with a score of 4 out of 5.

The KEF places each university into one of seven clusters. Lancaster is in Cluster X, a group of large, highly research-intensive and broad-discipline universities undertaking a significant amount of excellent research. In the KEF3 results, Lancaster is equal or better than the Cluster X average in 6 of the 7 areas measured.

Knowledge exchange with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

This video has been put together by Lancaster’s Faculty of Social Sciences (FASS) and illustrates the benefits of carrying out engagement activities to researchers and to those they are engaging with.

The Knowledge Exchange Framework

Led by Research England, the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) forms the third pillar of assessment of university activities, alongside the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

What’s the purpose of KEF?

  1. To enable universities to better understand and improve their own performance in knowledge exchange activities.
  2. To provide businesses and other users with more information to help them access the world-class knowledge and expertise within providers of higher education.

Alongside the KEF, Universities including lancaster, have signed up to a Knowledge Exchange Concordat (KEC) of good principles and practice. Simply put, the KEC is how we will embed and deliver KE activities the KEF outlines what we do.

KEF perspectives

The KEF assesses a university’s KE activities, through narrative and metric data, under seven ‘perspectives’:

  • Research partnerships
  • Working with business
  • Working with the public and third sector
  • CPD and graduate start ups
  • Local growth and regeneration
  • Intellectual property and commercialisation
  • Public and community engagement

You can read Lancaster University’s narratives for KEF 2023 here:

Knowledge exchange for staff

Access more information for Lancaster employees on the Staff Intranet: