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HE-BCI major review: where are we now?

Since announcing the continuation of the Higher Education - Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey major review in January 2022, we have worked to outline and define the features of knowledge exchange (KE) across the higher education sector. This work has included initial engagement with a variety of stakeholders, statutory customers and user groups all representing diverse interests in the HE-BCI data collection and the KE ecosystem it represents.

Examples include UK funding councils, sector bodies such as Universities UK (UUK) and the National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange (NCACE), and academics and researchers from across both academic and industrial sectors. We have explored the breadth and depth of knowledge exchange to develop a further understanding of the diversity of the KE landscape and the role of higher education providers within it.

This work has supported the creation of our project priorities which I’m pleased to be able to share with you, along with some information about the next steps and ways to keep updated with the review.

Project priorities

To continue to be a data collection that adequately supports UK policy development and implementation, facilitates transparent benchmarking and enhances academic research, the HE-BCI survey must be:

  • useful
  • robust
  • universal
  • verifiable
  • of proportionate burden to providers.

The review will focus on six priority areas. These areas represent a collated view of the concepts featured in the record, whether existing or to be introduced, and work will begin on addressing coverage, guidance and data metrics applicable. HESA has identified the priorities for the review as:

  1. Geographic granularity
  2. Commercialisation
  3. Social and community interactions – public engagement
  4. Equality and diversity of agents of KE
  5. In-kind contributions to collaborative research and partnerships
  6. Coverage of students and staff as agents of KE.

More information on each of these priorities is available on our HE-BCI review webpages:

View the six priority areas

In creating our six priority areas, we carried out detailed analysis of sources which pinpointed where the greatest value could be created. These included academic research, policy agendas and communication with UK funding bodies. We also considered the following points which allowed us to prioritise - we’ll publish more detail about these in due course.

  1. Requirements of HEPs in accommodating amendments to the HE-BCI data record, and consideration of any associated burden.
  2. Significance of funding and policy dependencies.
  3. Availability of resources to implement changes to data architecture, refine guidance where required, undertake experimental analysis and develop appropriate outputs.
  4. Availability of experimental data to further prioritise the long-term incorporation of linked commercialisation data.

Next steps

The review will soon be entering a phase of consultation in which we will welcome engagement from a diverse range of KE practitioners, academics and researchers. Opportunities to interact with the review and provide feedback will include published online consultation exercises, interactive sessions, a HESA-led academic symposium and HESA attendance at external KE events. At present these are confirmed to be:

Further details on other ways to get involved will be shared shortly and we will communicate these opportunities when available.

In the meantime, we welcome and encourage colleagues from across the sector to reach out via email and share their thoughts on how the HE-BCI dataset can best reflect the range of provider contributions to KE, Research and Development and innovation across the UK. Contact us at [email protected] or via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Stay in the know

For frequent updates on all HESA activity, please sign up to the HESA weekly update which covers all operational data collection emails in one handy, weekly digest.

Hannah Browne

Hannah Browne

Lead Policy and Research Analyst