Category / Knowledge Exchange

Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) results published

Research England has published the results of the second Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).

Knowledge exchange is defined as a collaborative, creative endeavour that translates knowledge and research into impact in society and the economy. This, in turn, helps to inform research, enrich education and enhance professional practice.

BU’s performance in the KEF demonstrates a number of areas of strength – including our research partnerships, our work with business, and supporting local growth and regeneration.

About the KEF

The KEF is published annually to allow universities to better understand and improve their own performance in knowledge exchange, and provide businesses and other users with more information on the knowledge and expertise of universities.

Universities are measured across seven perspectives:

  • Research partnerships,
  • Working with businesses,
  • Working with the public and third sector,
  • Skills, enterprise and entrepreneurship,
  • Local growth and regeneration,
  • IP and commercialisation,
  • Public and community engagement.

These areas have been measured through a combination of data collected through the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey and three narratives that summarised our institutional context, our contribution to local growth & regeneration and our public & community engagement.

In recognition of the fact that universities have different areas of expertise and work in regions with different needs, all universities in England have been placed into 7 different clusters according to their expertise, size and research activity.

The results are shared in the form of dashboards on the KEF website, with BU placed in Cluster E alongside other large universities with a broad portfolio of research across all disciplines.

Our KEF results demonstrate the breadth of activity across all of these important perspectives.

BU’s performance

Our performance in the latest KEF highlights several areas of strength – including our research partnerships and our work with business. We work collaboratively with organisations locally, nationally and internationally to embed our research in practice and support economic growth and innovation.

For example, the Institute of Medical Imaging and Visualisation (IMIV) is delivering education and professional development programmes to help meet the needs of the local community, the NHS and industry, as well as current global medical imaging workforce demands. Facilities including a 3T MRI scanner are also facilitating joint research opportunities with NHS trusts, primary care, industry and academia – helping to improve health outcomes for the region.

Through our partnership with University Hospitals Dorset, we are working on collaborative research that can make a real difference to patients. This includes a current joint project to explore commercialising a medical device which uses smartphones to screen nerve function in patients at risk of peripheral neuropathy – a condition which affects 2.3 million people in the UK and can lead to loss of sensation in the fingers and toes.

We are also developing new areas of research that have the potential to support industry – such as ADDISONIC, which explores how ultrasonic fatigue testing can quickly and reliably predict how materials will perform and last. This has a range of commercial applications – from jet engines to medical devices – and could help to create more efficient manufacturing processes and reduce global waste.

We share our work, research and expertise through public engagement activities, such as our regular Café Scientifique events and our online public lecture series, which gives audiences around the world the opportunity to learn more about BU research.

Ian Jones, Head of External Engagement at BU, said: “It is good to see an assessment of our progress in knowledge exchange and the impact we’ve made through our work.

“A part of our vision as a university is to enrich society. Our knowledge exchange work takes the knowledge we create and looks to embed it in society, and I’m proud that our work embodies this vision.”

David Sweeney CBE, Executive Chair of Research England, said: “Knowledge exchange (KE) is integral to the mission and purpose of our universities, and its importance in contributing to societal and economic prosperity is strongly supported by the Government.

“Today’s new version of the Knowledge Exchange Framework takes further forward the vision and potential of KE activity, providing richer evidence to demonstrate universities’ strengths in different areas when set alongside their peers.”

For more information about the KEF, please visit:

Find out more about BU’s knowledge exchange activities

HRV and Traumatic Injury- systematic review protocol published in PloS One by MSPH researcher

Rabeea Maqsood is a first year PhD student within the department of Medical Sciences and Public Health. She is exploring the role of serious battlefield traumatic injury and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) in military veterans and personnel in a collaborative project between BU and the ADVANCE study, UK (For more:

Recently, as a part of her PhD thesis, Rabeea’s study protocol on traumatic injuries and HRV has been published in PloS One with open access. The article has been downloaded and viewed hundreds of times since its publication. Here’s the link:

Watch this space for the full systematic review which will address the evidence gap in the field of HRV and combat trauma research.

New cross faculty HEIF project underway: exploring the narratives of childbirth

A social marketing perspective on current narratives of childbirth choices and their influence on women’s views and maternity service use.


This cross-faculty HEIF-funded project aims to explore the current narratives of home birth choices found in social media and provide understanding of how knowledge exchange could influence them.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines in the U.K recommend that pregnant women are offered choices regarding birth settings. This might be home, free-standing midwifery unit, alongside midwifery unit or an obstetric unit.  However, there is evidence that many women are only familiar with the obstetric unit as a birthing option. In the recent national survey only 47% of women had enough information to help them decide where to have their baby and 20% of women were not offered any choices. Although home birth has been described as positive and fulfilling, women are offered limited choices for a home birth.

Our study focuses on societal knowledge regarding place of birth. It is suggested that the negative portrayal and absence of other birth settings options apart from obstetric units in  the media and in society has framed childbirth as medical and has offered women limited choices Current research shows that pregnant women are increasingly relying on the media especially social media for pregnancy information needs and to find connections. Therefore, it is important to explore current social media content surrounding home birth narratives to understand what information is presented and to begin to explore the influence of these narratives on women’s decision making. The findings can subsequently be used to inform social marketing strategies to promote positive narratives surrounding homebirth.

This mixed method study will explore home birth narratives in social media and its influence on women’s decision-making using social media data scraping and qualitative interviews. The team will use PPI (patient and public involvement) to shape the development of the research tools and ensure stakeholders are actively involved throughout the project.


The research team:

Dr Julia Hibbert (BUBS), Assoc. Professor Chris Chapleo (BUBS), Aniebiet Ekong (HSS), Professor Vanora Hundley (HSS), Professor Edwin van Teijlingen (HSS), Assoc. Professor Ann Luce (FMC) and Anna Marsh (HSS) partnering with service users and women’s groups.


Some useful references:

Coxon, K., Chisholm, A., Malouf, R., Rowe, R. and Hollowell, J., 2017. What influences birth place preferences, choices and decision-making amongst healthy women with straightforward pregnancies in the UK? A qualitative evidence synthesis using a ‘best fit’framework approach. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 17 (1), 1-15.

Coxon, K., Sandall, J. and Fulop, N. J., 2014. To what extent are women free to choose where to give birth? How discourses of risk, blame and responsibility influence birth place decisions. Health, risk & society, 16 (1), 51-67.

Fletcher, B. R., Rowe, R., Hollowell, J., Scanlon, M., Hinton, L. and Rivero-Arias, O., 2019. Exploring women’s preferences for birth settings in England: A discrete choice experiment. Plos one, 14 (4), e0215098.

Naylor Smith, J., Taylor, B., Shaw, K., Hewison, A. and Kenyon, S., 2018. ‘I didn’t think you were allowed that, they didn’t mention that.’A qualitative study exploring women’s perceptions of home birth. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 18 (1), 1-11.

NICE, N. I. f. H. a. C. E., 2017. Intrapartum care United Kingdom

Sperlich, M. and Gabriel, C., 2022. “I got to catch my own baby”: a qualitative study of out of hospital birth. Reproductive Health, 19 (1), 1-13.

Vickery, M., van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Smith, G. B., Way, S. and Westwood, G., 2020. Midwives’ views towards women using mHealth and eHealth to self-monitor their pregnancy: A systematic review of the literature. European journal of midwifery, 4.