Published: 19 May 2021 | Last Updated: 19 May 2021 11:18:00

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has received high scores as part of Research England’s published Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF). Nationally, the RVC ranked in the top 10 per cent for higher education providers (HEP) working with business. Additionally, the university was in the top 20 per cent for research partnerships, and in the top 30 per cent for working with the public and third sector.

The results, available on the KEF website, are based on metrics that look at the performance of English HEPs from a variety of different perspectives. These perspectives include public and community engagement, working with partners ranging from big businesses to small local firms, and how they commercialise their research.

The data shows the rich contributions English HEPs make, both economically and socially, on both local and national levels. The knowledge exchange that underpins the KEF will help promote cooperation and drive continuous improvement in the higher education sector.

The RVC’s holistic approach to knowledge exchange combines basic, applied and clinical disciplines to examine problems in veterinary science, identifying solutions for the betterment of animal and human health and welfare. These partnerships across industry, academia and government create interdisciplinary teams to focus on globally important challenges, notably threats to food safety, food security and human health from infectious diseases of animals; and chronic degenerative problems of ageing as these affect the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, renal and central nervous systems.

At a local level, RVC is also creating new local scientific infrastructures such as the Vaccinology & Cell Therapy Hub and a Cardiovascular Imaging Centre. These initiatives support sustainable local economies through better health, wealth and jobs.

Exterior view of the Vaccinology and Cell Therapy Hub
Architect's impression of the new Vaccinology and Cell Therapy Hub being built at the RVC Hawkshead Campus

The KEF compares institutions on a like-for-like basis, with similar institutions being grouped together with their peers in ‘KEF clusters’ based on factors like their size, specialisation and the intensity of their research activities. This approach avoids making comparisons between incomparable institutions. The RVC was measured at national level, but also in line with other HEPs involved with bioscience and veterinary, engineering and agriculture – so-called ‘STEM specialist’ institutions. 

The data that underpins the KEF consists of a series of indicators covering a wide range of a university’s activities. These are translated into seven perspectives, for which each institution receives a decile score displayed in relation to the average for its cluster, and in relation to all 115 institutions that entered the KEF. The clusters are not ranked, and the KEF is not a league table.

Professor Liam Good, Interim Vice Principal for Innovation and Professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology at the RVC, said:

“We are delighted to see that the KEF exercise confirms the RVC’s strong performance in working with business and forming research partnerships. We have worked really hard on these aspects of our knowledge exchange activity over the last three years. The KEF exercise has also been very useful in helping us to shape our strategy to enhance and improve other aspects of knowledge exchange at the RVC in the future.”

Chief Executive Officer of UK Research and Innovation Dame Ottoline Leyser said:

“UKRI values the diverse and varied contributions that our higher education institutions make to society. The Knowledge Exchange Framework, published by Research England, reflects and celebrates this diversity.

“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.” 

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.”

For more information about the KEF, including about clusters, perspectives and metrics, visit: www.

Notes to Editors

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About the RVC

  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a Member Institution of the University of London. It was the first in the world to hold full accreditation from AVMA, EAEVE, RCVS and AVBC.
  • The RVC is ranked as the top veterinary school in the world in line with the QS World University Rankings by subject, 2021.
  • The RVC offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.
  • In 2017, the RVC received a Gold award from the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – the highest rating a university can receive.
  • A research led institution with 79% of its research rated as internationally excellent or world class in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  • The RVC provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals and first opinion practices in London and Hertfordshire.

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