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HEIF provides funding for higher education institutions in England to help them develop a range of knowledge-based interactions with the wider world and to increase their economic and societal impact, returning £9.70 for every pound invested (Note 1).

David Sweeney, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at HEFCE, said:

‘Universities deliver value to the economy and society for both local and national benefit, not least through close university-business links. In 2013 Sir Andrew Witty encouraged an “explicit long-term commitment to HEIF”. This was followed by the Dowling review which recognised the crucial role of HEIF in supporting university-business collaboration.

‘We therefore welcome this additional funding, which recognises the important role that our universities will play in delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy, and will enable the sector to rise to the challenge of accelerating the commercialisation of knowledge from our world-class research base.’ (Note 2)

University knowledge exchange income continued to increase in 2015-16, reaching £3.5 billion, including significant increases in income from licencing intellectual property, which increased by 30 per cent to £140 million (Note 3).

Further information on this additional funding will be announced via circular letter to institutions, following discussion by the HEFCE Board.


  1. See ‘Knowledge exchange funding delivers £9.70 for every pound invested’. In addition to the £9.70 returned for every £1 of HEIF, a 2015 analysis of the marginal impact of HEIF indicated that an extra £1 HEIF would deliver £7.40 additional leverage.
  2. For the Witty review, see for the Dowling review, see
  3. See
  4. Universities use HEIF:
    • to increase their capacity to interact with business, through activities like collaborative research, consultancy, and continued training
    • to enhance their technology transfer activities to commercialise intellectual property, through spin-outs or licensing
    • to provide entrepreneurial education and business support for staff and students.
  5. As part of the allocation of £4.7 billion additional research and development funding announced in the Autumn Statement 2016, a £40 million per annum uplift has been agreed for HEIF from 2017-18 to 2020-21, taking the total HEIF allocation to £200 million for 2017-18. This uplift will complement the additional £100 million funding provided through the Connecting Capability Fund. For further information on HEIF see ‘Knowledge exchange funding – HEIF’.

Read the HEFCE press release.