Keele’s impact on growth and regeneration praised in national assessment
The real-world impact of Keele University’s growth and regeneration programmes has been judged as being among the best in the country in the second Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).
Launched last year by Research England, the KEF scores universities against a range of metrics including how effectively they work with businesses; engagement with the public; and contribution to skills, enterprise and entrepreneurship. Institutions are grouped into clusters with others of similar size, research activity, portfolio, student population and relationships with the public sector and industry.
KEF2, released today, builds on the previous analysis with an evolved methodology, and the results place Keele in the top 20% for its growth and regeneration programmes, epitomised by the four “Keele Deals” - economy, culture, health and recovery.
The first and most ambitious local Deal set out a £70m plan in 2017, developed with partners to realise the benefits of research and innovation, generate growth, improve healthcare and put our region at the heart of the transition to a lower carbon economy. The most recent Keele Deal - Recovery - launched in 2021 to aid and strengthen local recovery following Covid-19.
Keele also scored well on its public and community engagement programmes nationally, a commitment made under Keele Deal culture, that includes delivering a vibrant public arts programme across the area, events for businesses and public engagement to share Keele's research.
KEF2 also placed Keele in the top 40% for its research partnerships outside the university sector, working with businesses, public and third sector organisations. This has included Keele’s strong links with companies like EQUANS on projects like the Low Carbon Energy Generation Park, and Zero Carbon Rugeley – helping to design a new smart energy system for the Staffordshire town of Rugeley.
Keele University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Trevor McMillan, who also leads on the knowledge exchange agenda nationally for the sector body Universities UK, said: "Keele has been at the forefront nationally on forging partnerships with other organisations to create economic, social, cultural and environmental impact, at the local level and more widely. KEF is a very effective mechanism for encouraging progress in this arena across the sector, whilst acknowledging that every University will need to do this differently.”
Ann Pittard, Director of Engagement & Partnerships and Keele University Science & Innovation Park, added: “Collaborating with external organisations and communities is central to the University's education and research, and something we have been working very hard on over the past few years. This has included agreeing civic partnerships on the economy, culture and health called the Keele Deals. It's good to see that the success of the Deals is reflected in the KEF results. We also value the opportunity that KEF provides to benchmark our own progress and look at how we might improve and develop."
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