Graduate start-ups & community engagement celebrated in latest KEF results

Thu 19 October, 2023
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Research England has unveiled this year’s Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) results which confirm that the University of Bedfordshire performed strongly in a number of key areas, including support for graduate start-ups and local and regional community engagement.

KEF assesses how universities impact the economy and society. The 2023 results showcase that Bedfordshire has excelled in three key categories – ‘Public & Community Engagement’, ‘Research Partnerships’ and ‘Graduate Start-Ups & CPD’ (Continuing Professional Development) – and this year’s results include year-by-year comparison, showing significant improvement themes.

Overall, the results reflect the outcomes of the University’s interventions, laid out in its five-year Research & Innovation Strategy. The institution has made significant progress in its commitment to use research partnerships in solving impactful societal challenges, with three Engineering academics being awarded £200k in funding from Innovate UK shortly after the KEF results were announced to further investigate renewable energy storage and production.

Bedfordshire has consistently scored as one of the top 5% of UK universities regarding alumni start-ups and CPD courses, previously recognised in a study by HESA in 2022, while earlier this year ranked the University in top place for helping to create and nurture social enterprises.

The boost in KEF score for Public and Community Engagement reflects the University’s Civic Agreement with Luton Council. The newly announced educational partnership with Luton Town Football Club will also add depth to this award area, as well as ongoing research partnerships with local charities and healthcare providers, by offering student knowledge exchange and placement opportunities.

Professor Andrew Church, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, commented: “These results are all down to a genuinely successful effort by all staff and it is pleasing to see the University of Bedfordshire being recognised nationally through independent metrics. Academics have often built these partnerships using small seed corn funding, either from regional projects or our own funding initiatives, such as the Participatory Research Fund, so it’s fantastic that their efforts have been acknowledged.”

Sally Cartwright, Director of Public Health at Luton Council, added: “We have been delighted with our ongoing collaborations with the University of Bedfordshire in addressing pressing local health issues, such as Covid19, mental health and obesity – all while ensuring meaningful community engagement.”

For more information about Research & Innovation at the University of Bedfordshire, please visit:


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