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Introduction to HE Business and Community Interaction data

Who is HESA?

HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) is part of Jisc. We are the experts 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. Prior to 2020/21, we also collected qualitative and factual data about HE providers' strategies and approaches to business and community interaction, and the infrastructure they have in place for this activity. However, from 2020/21 this section of the business and community interaction return has been suspended following initial review of the HE-BCI data collection. The future re-introduction of Part A will be explored during the ongoing HE-BCI major review.

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. In 2019/20 and 2020/21 the deadline for the collection was extended by 3 months in order to give providers the time to complete the return, resulting in data published in the Summer.

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 2022/23

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?

The HE-BCI record is collected in line with statutory requirements from all HE providers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in line with statutory requirements all approved (fee cap) providers in England. These requirements are as detailed at

What historical data on HE-BCI is available?

Open data icon

HESA has collected HE-BCI data since 2008/09. Data from 2014/15 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.