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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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Knowledge exchange funding - HEIF for 2015 to 2016

Allocations were performance based, and institutions were eligible to receive an allocation if they exceeded a £250,000 allocation threshold related to their external income earnings and performance of the sector overall.

Allocations for this period were published in March 2015.

The approach used for 2015-16 funding was built substantially on the approach used for 2011 to 2015 described below, including extending previously approved knowledge exchange strategies.

Knowledge exchange funding - HEIF for 2011 to 2015

Final funding allocations for this period and a request for institutional knowledge exchange strategies were published in May 2011. 

Knowledge exchange strategies were assessed by Public and Corporate Economic Consultants (PACEC) over the summer of 2011, and following HEFCE review, funding was confirmed to all 99 eligible institutions in Autumn 2012. 

PACEC's overview research report, 'Strengthening the Contribution of English Higher Education Institutions to the Innovation System: knowledge exchange and HEIF funding', draws on the evidence from the strategies and was published on April 2012.

Centres for Knowledge Exchange

Centres for Knowledge Exchange (CKEs) were 22 innovative partnerships funded to develop good practice in knowledge exchange between institutions and businesses and within a specific locality, region or sector. They were funded initially under the HEIF 2, fulfilling a commitment in the White Paper 'The future of higher education'. HEIF rounds 3 and 4 announced continued support for the 22 CKEs up to the end of the initiative in July 2009.


In March 2008 we published Circular letter 04/2008, announcing the final allocations to higher education institutions (HEIs) under HEIF 4 for the three years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. Through HEFCE 2008/02 'Higher Education Innovation Fund round 4:Invitation and guidance for institutional strategies', we asked HEIs to submit an institutional strategy as the basis for the release of this formula allocation.

HEFCE 2008/34 confirmed the final funding outcomes of HEIF 4. It describes the process used to assess institutional strategies and sets out that all HEIs receiving HEIF 4 funding have had their strategies approved and funding confirmed.

HEFCE was supported in the assessment of HEIF 4 strategies by specialist economic consultants, PACEC. HEFCE 2008/35 provides an overview of all HEIF 4 strategies from PACEC, summarising developments in knowledge exchange. This report also includes a HEFCE commentary highlighting key points of progress in knowledge exchange in the higher education sector, eight strategies commended for excellent practices and areas of policy for further development.


In 2005 we invited HEIs to apply for funds under the third round of HEIF, for the period 2006-08 (HEFCE 2005/46). Total funding available was £238 million.

Previously, HEIF funding had been awarded to proposed projects based on a competitive process. In HEIF 3, three-quarters of the funding was allocated by formula, based on data from HESA and the HE-business and community interaction survey. All HEFCE-funded HEIs received an allocation on condition that they submit a plan setting out how they would use the funding to support knowledge transfer activities.

The rest of the funding under HEIF 3 was allocated through a competition intended to fund innovative projects of significant scale and impact. Eleven projects were awarded funding through the competition. They were all large-scale collaborative initiatives including several HEIs, and external partners from business and community organisations. A synthetic evaluation of these collaborative projects was published in spring 2010.

The final allocations of funding under HEIF 3 were published in HEFCE 2006/30.


Funding for a second round of HEIF (HEIF 2) was announced in 2003 (HEFCE 2003/58). A total of 124 awards totalling £186 million were made for 2004-05 and 2005-06, of which 46 were collaborations between more than one HE institution. Around £16 million of funding went to support a network of Centres for Knowledge Exchange. Funding allocations were announced in HEFCE 2004/46.


The HEIF began in 2001, with the first invitation for proposals (HEFCE 01/34). In this first round, 89 awards totalling more than £77 million were confirmed. The funding allocations were announced in 2002 (HEFCE 02/04). A summary evaluation of the first round of the HEIF programme was published in February 2006.

Page last updated 12 June 2017