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Introduction to HE Business and Community Interaction data

Who is HESA?

HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) is the expert organisation in UK higher education data and analysis. We have been collecting, processing, and publishing data about higher education (HE) in the UK since the 1994/95 academic year.

As the trusted source of HE data and analysis, HESA plays a key role in supporting and enhancing the competitive strength of the sector.

About HESA

What business and community interaction data do we collect?

We collect data from universities, colleges, and other HE providers in the UK. HE providers submit quantitative data in templates covering business and community services, cultural engagement, intellectual property, start-ups and spin-offs, and regeneration and development. Qualitative and factual data is also collected about HE providers' strategies and approaches to business and community interaction, and the infrastructure they have in place for this activity.

For more information on the coverage of the data, and the data items we collect please see:

Definitions for the HESA Business and Community Interaction record

How do we collect data on business and community interactions?

HE providers currently submit an annual data return with information about their business and community interactions (the HE-BCI record). The data relates to the academic year 1 August to 31 July and is submitted in the winter following the end of the academic year.  We rigorously quality assure and process the data which we then publish in the following Spring.

We have developed detailed specifications for the data we expect providers to return to us. All the data goes through several stages of validation and checking, with most HE providers submitting their data multiple times to pass these checks. The full data specification can be found via our data collection pages:

HE-BCI record 2019/20

What data do we publish?

All of the HE-BCI record is published in HE Provider Data: Business and Community Interactions

Data is published as interactive Google tables and charts.

From which organisations do we collect data on business and community interactions?

We collect data from all publicly funded HE institutions in the UK (plus the privately funded University of Buckingham) via the HE-BCI record.

We don't currently collect business and community interaction information from other Alternative Providers.

What historical data on HE-BCI is available?

Open data icon

HESA has collected HE-BCI data since 2008/09. Data from 2014/15 to 2019/20 is available via the HE Provider Data: Business and Community Interaction open data release.

Previously published HE-BCI data from 2008/09 to 2015/16 is available to download from our publications archive:

View the publication archive 

Why do we round and suppress data?

HESA data is collected for statistical research purposes, but student and staff data can be 'personal data' in its raw form that needs to be protected from unauthorised exposure. Therefore, a Standard Rounding Methodology is used in all HESA publications and must be used by other users of HESA data too. 

Learn more about rounding and suppressing data

What further guidance is available for interpreting our data?

For further guidance on interpreting our data:

  • The definitions to accompany our business and community interaction information offers definitions for all the key fields that appear in our tables
  • Our data intelligence section provides notes submitted by HE providers to comment on anomalies in their data.

What further data is available?

HESA’s data analytics team has joined Jisc to provide enhanced data analytics for the higher education sector, underpinned by trusted HESA data.

Data can be requested via the Jisc Tailored Datasets service.