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About the survey

The surveys collect financial and output data per academic year. Results are summarised in the annual survey reports which provide information on a range of activities, from the commercialisation of new knowledge, through the delivery of professional training, consultancy and services, to activities intended to have direct social benefits.

These data provide invaluable intelligence for knowledge exchange practitioners and policy makers. The reports also provide an annual in-depth commentary on the extent of and trends in knowledge exchange activity in the UK.

The process is overseen by the HE-BCI Stakeholders group representing the wide spectrum of interested and involved bodies.

Data reported under 'capacity' and 'infrastructure' are a snapshot of the position at a set date (for 2014-15, 31 July 2015). In general two-year comparisons are presented in cash terms while a series of three or more years is shown in real terms.


The data has been collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) as part of the Finance Statistics Return (FSR), the main source of financial information on the total activities of all UK HEIs. Returns should be submitted to HESA by 23 December each year. Survey data can now be obtained from HESA.

2014-15 survey

Data collected for the academic year 2014-15 shows a continuing increase in the exchange of knowledge between UK HEIs and the public, private and third sectors. 

Previous surveys

Further information

HEFCE has also liaised with other parties active in the field of third stream metrics and indicators. These include:

  • AURIL/UNICO/NUBS (commercialisation survey)
  • AUTM, ProTon Europe, ASTP, EC (international)
  • Russell Group/SPRU (conceptual framework study)
  • CI-HE/Salford University (benchmarking work)
  • SFC (knowledge transfer metrics work)
  • RCUK, especially AHRC (social, civic and cultural indicators).

For more information contact Adrian Day tel 0117 931 7428, e-mail

Page last updated 27 July 2015