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Brunel's positive local engagement revealed in inaugural KEF


Local public engagement by Brunel University London’s research community has been recognised amongst the best in its category by the first iteration of Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).

KEF is a new series of metrics that look at the performance of English Higher Education Providers (HEPs) from a variety of perspectives, including public and community engagement, working with business partners and local firms, and how they commercialise their research.

Brunel scored particularly well in the ‘public and community engagement,’ ‘research partnerships’ and ‘working with business’ categories, where it was placed in the top 30% of institutions within its cluster.

The KEF compares institutions on a like-for-like basis, with similar HEPs being grouped together with their peers in ‘KEF clusters’ based on factors like their size, specialisation and the intensity of their research activities. Brunel was classified in ‘Cluster X,’ which is for “large, high research intensive and broad-discipline universities undertaking a significant amount of excellent research”.

Over 100 institutions (117 out of 135 English HEPs) provided detailed narrative accounts of the work they do to build public and community engagement, and to promote economic growth in their local area. This is the first time that detailed, qualitative information about how HEPs build community engagement and promote growth in their local areas has been collected together in a structured and systematic way allowing for easy comparison. The narratives paint a detailed, never-seen-before picture of how HEPs engage with their communities to build deeper relationships and to stimulate local growth.

Executive Chair of Research England David Sweeney said: “Universities engagement with society through Knowledge Exchange is an essential part of their mission alongside research and teaching. 

“The Knowledge Exchange Framework will help universities understand where their strengths are, relative to others with similar missions. It showcases a diverse picture of the tremendous work they do in their places, nationally and internationally.”

Chief Executive Officer of UK Research and Innovation Dame Ottoline Leyser said: “The KEF also brings together rich accounts of how our universities engage in their local areas, contributing in varied and often innovative ways to their local communities and economies. As well as researchers and innovators, the activities captured in the framework highlight the diversity of essential roles - from technicians and project managers, to technology transfer professionals - in connecting discovery to prosperity and public good.” 

For further information on KEF, please visit

Reported by:

Tim Pilgrim, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268965