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The HE-BCI major review: defining future data

January 2023 marked one year since the reignition of the HE-BCI major review. Over the past 12 months we have worked to define the shape of the future data requirements for Knowledge Exchange.

We built on the findings of the initial phase one consultation to identify and prioritise six priority areas of the review which we announced to the sector at the PraxisAuril 2022 Annual Conference.

Our project board stakeholders have helped us to understand how the UK-wide HE-BCI dataset is interpreted alongside nation-specific outputs such as the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) in England, and Knowledge Exchange (KE) Metrics in Scotland. This has highlighted where we can better align the HE-BCI collection with others to improve the comparability of KE data across the UK. 

We have worked with sector representatives to identify the challenges faced by providers when submitting KE data. Our user engagement activities have been an opportunity to talk with representatives and discuss the challenges they experience when recording and reporting HE-BCI data. We have engaged with specialist providers to further understand the ways to measure the value and impact of specific forms of KE. By understanding their processes for monitoring the impact of these interactions, we were able to consider ways to improve the measure of value in the HE-BCI collection.

Our experimental data collection helped us to better understand the possibilities of linking the HE-BCI dataset with information held by the Intellectual Property Office. We collected intellectual property (IP) numbers from a sample of providers, then obtained a matched dataset from the IPO (Intellectual Property Office) which provided details of their registration. These details included where, when and by whom applications have been filed. The exercise helped us to determine the resources required to align the datasets. Matching them will help to improve our understanding of the creation and use of intellectual property in the UK. We published the details of our findings and considerations for the future ingestion of IPO data.

Our consultation on the uses of re-stated figures in the record outlined the first confirmed amendments to the HE-BCI collection. These included removing the ability to amend previously submitted figures in the collection and improved guidance to better direct providers to the formal amendments process. Were implemented these changes for this year’s C22032 collection.

As a data controller, we regularly review and update our data streams to ensure that we are collecting and publishing the right data at the right time

Where are we now?

Our work over the last year has helped us to determine where we can start to make improvements to the record and where we believe further investigation and understanding is needed. This has helped us to shape the future scope of the review and outline our short- and medium-term goals. As we enter the final 6 months of the initial 18-month project we are starting to outline where we see the future of the HE-BCI collection and what activities lie beyond June 2023. In the short-term we plan to continue to develop the quality of the existing metrics used to measure the value of knowledge exchange. We are starting to implement amendments to the guidance, both in response to the outcomes of the first phase of the HE-BCI review and answering requests from UK funding bodies. Amendments include:

  • Refining existing guidance.
  • Clarifying definitions.
  • In some cases, relabelling existing data items.

We anticipate introducing these changes in the C22032 HE-BCI collection. We will publish details in a Notification of Changes in April 2023.

Phase 2 consultation

We are currently consulting on proposed amendments to guidance supporting the return of ‘in-kind’ contributions to collaborative research. The consultation will close for responses on 31 March 2023 and we will be implementing the outcomes with effect to the C22032 HE-BCI collection where confirmed.

HE-BCI phase 2 consultation

As a data controller, we regularly review and update our data streams to ensure that we are collecting and publishing the right data at the right time. This time has helped us to identify the priority areas of the record, but it is only the start of our continued efforts to improve the record. We will continue to develop the ways in which KE can be measured in the HE-BCI data set beyond the outlined 18-month project. 

We will publish an evidence-gathering exercise which will help to prioritise the work of the review from June 2023 and beyond. The evidence-gathering will address areas that we have developed in concept and design over the last 12 months, and indicate where we require further knowledge of how future requested data may already be captured and recorded. It will address the areas where we require evidence of sector data practices to help inform our future business case for change. This exercise is not a consultation but we will be seeking evidence of your data collection practices. The outcomes of this work will contribute to detailed designed proposals. We anticipate consulting on the design proposals in early 2024 for inclusion in the C23032 collection.

Where are we going?

Our longer-term work will continue to explore how additional or alternative metrics may improve our measure of the value of KE. It will extend beyond the current review project timescales and will become a fundamental part of our collection development activity. We will work collaboratively with organisations to develop our understanding of what ‘good’ KE may look like. We will address areas that require considerable time to establish a clear policy direction. For example, we will explore how data could help us understand the geographic spread of collaborations and how to measure the value of commercial forms of KE. This will help us to propose the appropriate data to be collected to support policy imperatives and help inform their future development. 

HESA weekly update

Further details of where we will be and how you can get involved will be shared via the HESA weekly update.

Hannah Browne

Hannah Browne

Lead Policy and Research Analyst