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Consultation on changes to the HE-BCI survey

Consultation on changes to the HE-BCI survey

This consultation seeks views on how Jisc can ensure it has the data required to perform its functions, and how that data can be collected in a way that is proportionate. By ‘proportionate’ we mean that the requirements that we place on higher education (HE) providers are necessary to perform our functions under the statutory frameworks we operate. 

This consultation is the final set of change proposals created by HESA’s review of the Higher Education – Business and Community Interactions (HE-BCI) survey. A review is an investigatory project that can make the case for change to data collections and outputs. This review aims to improve the robustness of guidance and definitions, and modernise approaches to collecting data on existing concepts, from the 2023/24 record onwards. As a part of this we are also proposing a one-off collection of a UK-wide Spin-out Census, in summer 2024. We plan to issue a final report from the review and indicate future plans for our work on knowledge exchange data in July 2024. 

The priority areas we have established for the HE-BCI review are as follows: 

  • Commercialisation  
  • Geographic granularity 
  • Social and cultural interactions 
  • Equality, diversity & inclusion (EDI) 
  • Staff and students as agents of knowledge exchange (KE) 
  • In-kind contributions 

We have already pre-announced changes to guidance relating to in-kind contributions, following a previous consultation. The draft guidance relating to Table 1 is included in this document for completeness. This will be reiterated in a Notification of Changes to be issued after this consultation closes.  

As part of the review we have conducted a variety of investigations. Review activity has included two evidence-gathering surveys and a previous consultation on in-kind contributions, data experiments, an academic seminar, development of a logical relational data model and participation in a wide range of other discussions and events. Input from the sector in these activities have been especially helpful to create a more informed collection design for consultation.  This activity has lead us to an appropriate point of closure for review, which will be in July 2024. 

We are grateful to our colleagues at the University Commercialisation and Innovation Policy Evidence Unit (UCI) at the University of Cambridge for their role in advising, critiquing, and offering design suggestions for the collection of commercialisation data, supported by Research England’s national metrics development programme. We have also worked alongside our project board comprising our statutory customers that are the main users of the HE-BCI data in funding and regulation, to establish requirements and refine proposals. We thank all those who have contributed to and encouraged this work – any errors or gaps that remain are ours. 

In line with feedback we have gathered over the review, we have made some specific proposals for enhancement of data gathering, driven by two factors. First, the implications of some proposed definitional improvements would require a change in data collection approach. Second, we are responding to a desire and policy need among stakeholders for enhanced data regarding the commercialisation of intellectual property (IP), and particularly to improving data on spin-out companies. Again in line with feedback received to date, we have also focussed on improving guidance across the collection. 

Purpose of the consultation  

This consultation is to obtain feedback on the proposed approach(es) to changing the HE-BCI survey, and also the conduct of a one-off Spin-Out Census. They have been developed in collaboration with Research England, the Office for Students in England, the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Funding Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. Our primary focus is on the clarity and implementability of these proposals. 

Through sharing your views, you will assist us in determining what information would be most appropriate to compile and make available, in order to be helpful to our statutory customers. Some of the proposals might create burdens of change in the short term, which lead to lower-burden data collection in future, as well as higher-value outputs – we are keen to gather your perceptions of burden so we can factor this in to our implementation, and pay due regard to reducing burden where we can. We are also particularly interested in finding out what would be helpful to HE providers when we come to publish data, as there is an opportunity to have formative input into the development of the proposed “spin-outs register” and other data products that could be usefully created from our proposals. 

The information you provide will help us refine our proposals, and to issue a Notification of Changes detailing new requirements for data collection for the forthcoming HE-BCI data collections. Changes and implementation timescales will be published in early June 2024. 

What is the timetable for this consultation? 

This survey opens on Thursday 4 April 2024 and closes on Thursday 16 May 2024. Responses from the consultation will be considered by the review project board (comprised of our statutory customers) and Jisc to form recommendations for changes to the metrics captured by the record, along with an implementation timetable. This information will be released as soon after the planned consultation closes as possible, currently planned for early June 2024, prior to the planned closure of the HE-BCI review. The review will be closing in July 2024. Please also note the proposed rapid timetable for conduct of the Spin-out Census, covered later in this document. 

Responses will also be useful in the longer term for wider work where short-term changes to HE-BCI would not be appropriate at present. 

Who should respond to this review? 

All stakeholders are welcome to respond to this consultation, which is particularly focussed on HE providers with KE activity. Since the proposals could affect current data collection and recording practices, we are particularly interested in receiving official whole-organisation views on these proposals. 

The evidence you provide in response to this survey will help us develop proposals for changes to the HE-BCI survey. It will also support future consideration of data and metrics in priority areas where changes to HE-BCI are not yet appropriate. Our goal is to improve the data to support policy analysis and development, and to support our statutory customers with data that meets their policy and funding needs. We are also aware of keen interest from researchers and practitioners for better data and evidence in KE to improve understanding of the health of innovation systems. 

How to respond

Please submit a response via our online consultation hub. We can also accept responses in other formats. Email [email protected] for details, or alternatively, call our Liaison team on 01242 388 531. 

Data processing notice

Responses to this survey will be used to support the review of the HE-BCI survey, and will be used in analysis, documentation, and communications in connection with that activity. 

We may share your survey responses with statutory customers, sector bodies, or other organisations involved in this activity, which in this case also includes staff in the University Commercialisation and Innovation Policy Evidence Unit at the University of Cambridge (UCI) (as national advisors to Research England) . In such cases we will share your response together with the name of your organisation, however we will not disclose your name or email address to organisations we share responses with. 

Please see our privacy notice for consultations (which applies to this consultation). 

Documents for this consultation

a. HE-BCI Consultation 2024 (PDF)

b. HE-BCI record 2023/24 – Introduction - Proposed (PDF)

c. HE-BCI record 2023/24 - Coverage of the record – Proposed (PDF)

d. HE-BCI record 2023/24 - General guidance on Table 1: Research related activities - Proposed (PDF)

e. HE-BCI record 2023/24 - General guidance on Table 2: Business and community services - Proposed (PDF)

f. HE-BCI record 2023/24 - General guidance on Table 3: Regeneration and development programmes - Proposed (PDF)

g. HE-BCI record 2023/24 - General guidance on Table 4: Intellectual property (IP) - Proposed (PDF)

h. HE-BCI record 2023/24 - General guidance on Table 5: Social ... engagement: designated public events - Proposed (PDF)

i. HEBCI review proposed data collection instrument (XLSX)

j. Spin-out Census C22036 (PDF)

k. HEBCI review proposed data collection instrument Spin out census C22036 (XLSX)