New findings demonstrate high impact of Lancaster University's research and engagement

a collage of three images side by side - the first is an aerial image of a group of business people gathered around a table, the second is an artist's illustration of Eden Project Morecambe and the third image is of a laptop, representing the university's cyber initiatives

Lancaster University has been ranked among the top universities in the country for partnership and engagement work.

The 2023 Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF3) results, released today by Research England, measure the quality of knowledge exchange across the HE sector. KEF3 demonstrates how higher education institutions engage with different partners, communities and the wider public to share collective knowledge and expertise, ultimately creating positive economic, cultural, societal and environmental change.

Seven activities are measured – Continuing Professional Development and Graduate Start Ups; Intellectual Property and Commercialisation; Local Growth and Regeneration; Public and Community Engagement; Research Partnerships; Working with Business and Working with the Public and Third Sector.

According to Lancaster’s own analysis of the KEF 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. Examples of this work include a significant spin-out company specialising in security for Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the award-winning Centre for Global Eco-Innovation - established in 2012 based on the University’s pioneering decision to place its world-class environmental research at the heart of driving innovation for Clean and Sustainable Growth.

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.

Lancaster University Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Schofield said: “Today’s results recognise the incredible effort our colleagues put in to working closely with valued partners, our communities and the general public. Their hard work ensures our world-leading research helps to benefit wider society, and plays a key part in the societal, economic and intellectual regional and national success.

“As an institution that prides itself on generating pioneering research and teaching excellence, I am incredibly proud of the work and dedication of our researchers and professional services staff in building such meaningful and impactful relationships to share expertise and knowledge for the greater good.

“Our researchers will continue to work alongside businesses, local authorities, policymakers and communities to help generate transformative opportunities for the benefit of the wider Lancashire region and the UK.”

Sarah Kemp, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Engagement at Lancaster University, added: “The Knowledge Exchange Framework is a great way to showcase our strengths around partnerships and engagement, all with the aim of translating our activity to benefit wider society. From community and business access to our facilities to the thousands of volunteer hours our students provide to local school children each year, Lancaster University adds value to our community at every level.

“Our University is a key partner in exciting strategic initiatives for the region, such as Eden Project Morecambe and the National Cyber Force, and on programmes focused on local, regional and national challenges including healthcare, productivity, net zero, leadership and the secure digital/data driven economy.

“We are also recognised as a national leader in driving small and medium enterprise (SME) growth, having supported 15,000 SMEs and securing 18,000 jobs since we started focusing on this area 25 years ago.

“We are committed to continuing our important work in this area, building stronger connections and further enhancing our approach to partnership and engagement for the benefit of our community.”

You can find out more about Knowledge Exchange at Lancaster University here:

For all the ways the University connects with businesses, schools, through public events and more, view our Connect pages:

The Knowledge Exchange Framework findings for the 139 HEIs involved can be viewed here:

Back to News