HEFCE welcomes, in particular, Sir Andrew's support for the Third Mission which he describes as all the diverse engagements of universities with the economy. HEFCE has been at the forefront of this development since the 1990s, which we support through the funding we give for knowledge exchange through the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). Sir Andrew highlights that he has heard 'how valuable it is to the universities, SMEs and other businesses it supports', and that 'HEIF has funded many of the best examples of university support for local business'.
Sir Andrew recognises the importance of world class research and the wider expertise of universities to support growth wherever it can be developed across the country. All four UK Funding Bodies will consider carefully the recommendation to increase the contribution of the impact element in future iterations of the Research Excellence Framework. HEFCE has already commissioned RAND Europe to examine the costs and benefits to HEIs of the impact element of the current REF, and this evidence, together with feedback from the assessment of impact in the current REF, will inform future implementation.
HEFCE looks forward to contributing to the Government's response to the Review.