University of Sheffield one of England’s best for working with businesses and public engagement

29th September 2023

The University of Sheffield has once again been recognised as one of the best universities in the country for working with businesses, developing IP, commercialising research and public and community engagement, according to the latest Knowledge Exchange

  • The University of Sheffield has been recognised as one of the best universities in the country for working with businesses, developing IP and commercialising research, as well as public and community engagement, in the latest Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF)
  • KEF is an analysis of data that shows the rich and diverse ways English universities continue to engage with society and the economy, locally, nationally and internationally
  • The latest framework - the third iteration to date - places Sheffield in the top 20 per cent of English universities for working with businesses, developing IP, commercialising research and public and community engagement for the benefit of South Yorkshire and the rest of the UK
  • Results from the latest KEF also show that the University is highly engaged in research partnerships and working with the public and third sector

The University of Sheffield has once again been recognised as one of the best universities in the country for working with businesses, developing IP, commercialising research and public and community engagement, according to the latest Knowledge Exchange Framework.

The Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), published 27 September 2023 by Research England, highlights the University of Sheffield's strength in, and commitment to, working with partners from all sectors to help them find solutions to some of their biggest challenges, as well as major issues facing society, such as health inequality and sustainability.

The results from this third iteration of KEF again place Sheffield in the top 20 per cent for working with businesses, developing IP and commercialising research. It also places Sheffield as one of the country’s leading universities for working at a range of scales, from small local firms to national big businesses. 

Results from the KEF recognise Sheffield as one of the best universities in England for public and community engagement - working with partners to co-create projects and activities that add to its region’s vibrancy, from festivals and exhibitions to heritage and regeneration initiatives.

Professor Sue Hartley, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield, said: 

“We are incredibly proud that the latest Knowledge Exchange Framework has recognised the work we do with partners and the positive impact the University has on the city of Sheffield, the South Yorkshire region and nationally. Knowledge exchange is not simply an academic term, it’s a really important practical way that the University engages with, and gives back to, wider society. 

“Our academics use their world-leading research and expertise to help businesses of all sizes, and from all sectors, to solve some of the biggest challenges they are facing. Our students use the skills and knowledge they are developing on their degree and apprenticeship programmes to help a wide range of organisations through start-ups, work placements and volunteering. The University also draws on its strengths and expertise to work with a diverse range of local and mayoral authorities, groups and organisations to support economic regeneration and civic life. 

“Knowledge exchange is a core part of what we do at the University and we’re looking forward to continuing this work over the coming academic year.”

An example of how the University engages with businesses can be seen through its translational research centres in the University of Sheffield’s Innovation District.  

Located just off the M1, the district builds on the global reputation of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) - a hugely successful blueprint for academic and industry R&D - the Nuclear AMRC and AMRC Training Centre

The AMRC recently announced a groundbreaking new research and development facility, which will play a key role in the new South Yorkshire Investment Zone. The facility known as COMPASS – Composites at Speed and Scale - will work with partners from the aerospace industry to develop new ways to manufacture lightweight aircraft components, create high-skilled jobs and drive new investment into the South Yorkshire region. 

The University of Sheffield Innovation District is also home to the Gene Therapy Innovation and Manufacturing Centre - the first of its kind in the north of England - which is set to advance scientific discoveries into treatment options for patients with life-threatening diseases as well as generate opportunities for startups and spinouts.  

The latest KEF highlights the University’s strength in developing Intellectual Property (IP) and commercialising its research for the benefit of businesses and society. During the period of this third KEF, the University has continued to invest in its commercialisation infrastructure and together with the universities of Leeds and Manchester launched Northern Gritstone - an investment company to help boost university spinouts and start-ups in the North of England.   

The latest KEF also highlights the University of Sheffield’s strength in collaborating with the public and third sectors, and recognises the University’s role in the region’s cultural vibrancy through the work it does with partners from across South Yorkshire to deliver festivals, exhibitions, green spaces and regeneration.

Next month (13-29 October 2023), the University is bringing Off the Shelf Festival of Words - one of the largest literary festivals in the North of England - to Sheffield and the wider region. During 2019-2021, Off the Shelf reached an audience of more than 70,000 for live and online events and this year is set to bring some of the very best names in writing, arts and media, as well as rising stars, to Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

The University also supported a successful bid by Sheffield City Council for the Future High Streets Fund, which will rejuvenate and reinvent the Fargate and High Street areas of Sheffield city centre.

To view the latest KEF, visit: https://kef.ac.uk/dashboard 

For more information on the University’s work with businesses and its role in the region, visit: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/city-region 

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