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National Indicator: Knowledge Exchange

up Improve knowledge exchange from university research

Indicator Measure
Weighted, inflation-adjusted index of the Scottish Funding Council's (SFC) Knowledge Transfer Metrics

Current Status
In 2015-16, the knowledge exchange index is estimated to have been 10.1 per cent higher than the previous year and 13.2 per cent above the baseline year of 2007-08. The knowledge exchange index has displayed a long-term upwards trend, increasing from 80.6 in 2002-03 to 113.2 in 2015-16 (an increase over the period of 40.5%).

Knowledge exchange graph

* Please note that Scotland's Rural College is excluded from the data for all years. The Open University in Scotland is excluded from the data for the years prior to 2004/05

Source: Scottish Funding Council's Knowledge Transfer Metrics Return
The data for this chart is available at the bottom of the page.

Last Update: 19 June 2017
Next Update: June 2018

Improve knowledge exchange from university research

Why is this National Indicator important?
What will influence this National Indicator?
What is the Government's role?
How is Scotland performing?
What more do we know about this National Indicator?
Criteria for recent change
Further information
Who are our partners?
Related Strategic Objectives

Why is this National Indicator important?

In terms of quality, Scotland's university-based research is amongst the best in the world. However, the level of business research and development lags behind that of most developed countries. If the Scottish Government is to realise its ambitions for delivering significantly higher and sustainable levels of economic growth, then more of the high quality knowledge being created in Scotland's universities needs to be effectively transferred for and into the Scottish economy.

Enhanced knowledge exchange from universities has the potential to contribute to both improved economic output from existing businesses and the creation of new, high value businesses with the capacity to grow and energise Scotland's GDP performance. It also has the potential to deliver social and cultural gains for Scotland.

What will influence this National Indicator?

The exchange of knowledge between universities to the wider economy is complex and can take many forms. Knowledge exchange activities range from public lectures, the establishment of new spin-out companies, and project collaboration between universities and business or other organisations. The sheer range and nature of activities which knowledge exchange encompasses means that knowledge exchange is not easily measured systematically across Scotland; is dependent on demand from businesses or public/voluntary organisations; and, in many cases, does not raise income for universities. Moreover, the exchange of knowledge from universities can occur both directly and indirectly.

What is the Government's role?

The enterprise networks and the Scottish Funding Council are tasked with working to improve innovation and knowledge exchange. These bodies employ a wide variety of mechanisms to enhance university-business engagement and the effective exchange and utilisation of the knowledge and expertise located within Scottish universities. This includes support and incentives to stimulate an increase in demand for university innovation from Scottish businesses, which are increasingly able to absorb and exploit such knowledge and expertise to improve their own performance, and that of the Scottish economy.

How is Scotland performing?

Over the period 2002-03 to 2015-16, there has been an overall rise in the knowledge exchange index. In 2015-16, the latest year for which data is available, the index increased by 10.1 per cent. This was driven by an increase in income received from venturing activities.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

What more do we know about this National Indicator?

Over the year to 2013-14, weighted income from both categories of external research grants and contracts – (Industry, commerce and public corporations, and UK central government bodies/LAs, health and hospital authorities) – fell by 2% each. Together, these two categories accounted for just over 40% of total sector Knowledge Exchange income for 2013/14 meaning that these seemingly small declines are likely to have had a large impact on the total sector performance.

Income received from venturing actives also declined over the year (2012-13 to 2013-14), and contributed 14% to (weighted) total sector income in 2013/14. It should be noted however that venturing data is particularly sensitive to the timing of when individual projects start and end – and fluctuations over time in income from venturing have highlighted the volatility of this component of the index. For example, over the lifetime of the series it has varied between £2 million and £48 million.

The data is available at the bottom of the page.

Criteria for recent change

The evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 2.5 percent suggest the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 2.5 percent or more suggests the position is improving ; whereas a decrease of 2.5 percent or more suggests the position is worsening.

Further Information

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Who are our partners?

Business Organisations

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Funding Council

Universities

Related Strategic Objectives

Smarter

Healthier

Wealthier and Fairer

View National Indicator Data

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Title:Improve knowledge exchange from university research
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