What is HEIF?
Continuing from Julie Northam’s post last week about why research matters, this post aims to highlight the Knowledge Exchange (KE) element within the research and knowledge exchange arena, specifically relating to HEIF.
The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) is a financial allocation that we (BU) receive annually from Research England (part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)). The aim of this fund is to allow higher education providers to connect with the world via different knowledge exchange mechanisms to benefit the economy and society.
We are currently within the HEIF-6 strategic period running from 2017-2022. Recipients of HEIF funding, including BU, have a strategy for their respective institution for this period relating to KE.
You can find our HEIF strategy on the I drive via the following link – I:\RDS\Public\HEIF 6. These strategies underpin the allocations that each institution receives, with the focus of the allocation being performance based from institutional returns such as the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey. This is why it is so important that we accurately record our interactions for inclusion on such returns.
HEIF in action
You may be aware of HEIF, perhaps you’ve even had HEIF funding in the past, however, each year we need to report on how we have spent our HEIF funds. As such, here are some examples that bring to life what we do at BU with our HEIF funding.
- Dr Philip Sewell and Abigail Batley concluded their additive manufacturing project with the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) to reduce design, production and supply chain pressures. This project resulted in additive manufacturing being implemented as a focus into the RNLI engineering team time plan over the next three years. Additive manufacturing is now at the forefront when new and existing engineering designs are made and a manufacturing process is selected, as well as integration into supply chains. The RNLI are using one of the additive manufacturing case studies created during the project and are investigating the feasibility of implementing it into their Severn Life Extension Programme, which aims to extend the life of the Severn class lifeboats so they can continue saving lives at sea for another 25 years.
- Professor Lee-Ann Fenge and Professor Keith Brown finished their project on launching and evaluating their financial scamming game in July 2020. They have already identified various external funding opportunities to take this project forward and realise further impact amongst vulnerable people and communities. Professor Fenge and her team have worked with a variety of key agencies such as The Chartered Trading Standards Institute, Action Fraud and Age UK in creating and capturing the impact of their work. This work has been included in a REF impact case study, further demonstrating the highly valued nature of the project and positive impact it created.
Aligned to BU’s HEIF strategy, our HEIF investment has also included academic/business collaborations and public engagement activities, such as the BFX Festival and the Festival of Learning.
More about this will feature in the second part of this blog series – including how you can get involved in our HEIF funding if you have KE ideas to explore.
The future of HEIF
Due to the development of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) and Knowledge Exchange Concordat (KEC), there’s an acknowledgement that HEIF needs to be reviewed to align with these new initiatives. This is good news as emphasises the importance of KE and helps cement its place within our collaborative society.
Although the review is ensuring HEIF as a complement to the KEF and KEC, it is also much wider than that. As one of the government’s aims is to increase research and development investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 (it was 1.7% in 2020), one of the initiatives to support this is the next iteration of the HEIF fund. There are further HEIF ties here with the government’s Industrial Strategy (via an allocation uplift) and R&D Roadmap.
To conclude; HEIF is evolving along with KE, to discuss your ideas or share a comment, please do get in touch.