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Future third stream strategy

The HEFCE strategic plan sets out our current strategy for third stream funding.

To inform the development of future strategy and funding for the third stream we are committed to a programme of research and evaluation to review the effectiveness of our funding, and to explore new aspects of third stream policy. Recent and current work in this area is outlined below.

Evaluation

Evaluation of HEFCE (DIUS) third stream funding

We published in April an evaluation of the effectiveness and role of HEFCE/DIUS third stream funding to date from Public and Corporate Economic Consultants and the Centre for Business Research, Cambridge.

The study, conducted during 2007-08, has drawn conclusions on what has been achieved by third stream funding in terms of its original aims - to achieve culture change and embed capacity toward optimising the direct and indirect economic impact of higher education (HE).

The evaluation calculates for the first time the value for money achieved by long-term public investment in higher education institutions (HEIs) working with the economy and society. The evaluation states that nearly 600 million has been put into higher education, primarily through the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), and estimates that this has generated a minimum of between 2.9 and 4.2 billion in value.

The evaluation also concludes that significant progress has been made in culture change in HE to embrace third stream working, though there is still further to go, particularly in terms of academic engagement.

HEIF impact survey

Seventy-six HEIs responded to an online survey on the scale and scope of the outputs and impacts of activities funded under the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). The report was published in February 2007. (This is one of three studies commissioned from Quotec Ltd and SPRU at University of Sussex.)

Research

Research into knowledge exchange

Public and Corporate Economic Consultants (PACEC) and the University of Cambridge's Centre for Business Research are producing a series of research working papers outlining the current state and development of knowledge exchange across the HE sector.

Global innovation environments

We have commissioned a study of global innovation environments, where leading-edge academics and businesses can interact, share knowledge and develop partnerships. The study looks at overseas examples to consider different approaches to the structures, activities and outputs of such environments. This report was published in February 2007. (This is one of three studies commissioned from Quotec Ltd and SPRU at University of Sussex.)

The impact of HEIs on regional economies and societies

With the Economic and Social Research Council and other UK funding bodies we are funding a joint research programme on the impact of HEIs on regional economies and societies.

Third stream as second mission

We are seeking to explore the potential of some HEIs to play a greater role in fostering productivity and economic growth through making third stream activity their second mission focus, after teaching. The first report relating to this area of policy development was published in April 2007. (This is one of three studies commissioned from Quotec Ltd and SPRU at University of Sussex.)

Last updated 18 December 2009