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Academic and Financial Planning and Analysis

The Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey

What is it?

The Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey is an annual statutory return, which all Higher Education Institutions in UK are required to submit to the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA). It measures the volume and direction of interactions between UK Higher Education Institutions and business and the wider community and has been collecting this data since 1999-2000 academic year.

Why is it important?

Research England uses some of the data from HE-BCI to determine the allocation of the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) – a valuable resource to support a range of knowledge exchange activities across the University. Submitting a strong HE-BCI return helps to ensure that the University of Cambridge receives a good allocation from this fund.

Elements of the return are also used to inform a new Framework introduced to complement REF and TEF – the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), the first iteration of which was published in January 2021. It is expected that HE-BCI data will acquire even greater prominence in determining KEF results in future years.

What data is collected in HE-BCI?

The HE-BCI collects numerical data on a range of knowledge exchange activities.

Research-related activities

measured as income from collaborative research involving public funding and from contract research for business

Business and community services

measured as income from consultancy, facilities and equipment services and provision of CPD and CE, as well as the volume or CPD/CE activities

Regeneration and development

measured as income from these activities

Commercialisation of Intellectual property

measured as volume of patents, licenses, copyright, design registration and trademarks and income generated from them

Spin-off and start-up activity

measured as number of spin-off and start-up companies and estimates for their staff, turnover and external investment

Social, community, and cultural engagement

measured as number of attendees to and academic staff time spend on provision of public lectures, exhibitions, museum education etc

Internal HE-BCI resources

For more details on the process of data collection and validation for HE-BCI return, please visit HE-BCI Teams site. It is an internal resource aimed at members of staff involved in HE-BCI survey across the University. It is updated with relevant documentation, guidance and answers to frequently asked questions. It also provides a secure channel for sharing data between different offices and departments.