You need cookies enabled


You need cookies enabled

Qualitative and quantitative evaluations of Higher Education Innovation Funding

In October 2015 we published:

  • 'Assessing the economic impacts of the Higher Education Innovation Fund: A mixed-method quantitative assessment' commissioned from Tomas Coates Ulrichsen of the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Policy at the University of Cambridge, which evaluated the economic impacts arising from HEFCE’s funding for knowledge exchange (KE) through the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)
  • 'Evaluating the non-monetised achievements of the Higher Education Innovation Fund' from Public and Corporate Economic Consultants which used a qualitative approach to examine the nature and degree of non-monetised achievements and benefits from HEIF.

Evaluation of 'third stream' funding

In April 2009 we published an evaluation of the effectiveness and role of funding to date for business and community engagement (or ‘third stream’ funding).

The study, conducted during 2007-08, drew 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 calculated 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. It found that nearly £600 million has been put into HE, primarily through the Knowledge exchange funding – HEIF, and estimated that this has generated a minimum of between £2.9 and £4.2 billion in value.

The study also identified that the HE sector has made progress in the way it embraces businesses and the community, but noted that there is still further to go, particularly in terms of academic engagement.

Public and Corporate Economic Consultants and the Centre for Business Research, Cambridge carried out the study for HEFCE.

HEIF impact survey

In 2006-07 we conducted an online survey on the scale and scope of the outputs and impacts of activities funded under HEIF. Seventy-six HEIs responded and feedback indicated that HEIF funding has made a considerable contribution to HEIs' knowledge transfer activities and outputs.

The report from the survey was published in February 2007 as one of three studies carried out by Quotec Ltd and the Science and Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex.

Third stream as second mission

From time to time we support targeted projects in HEIs to explore new aspects of knowledge exchange. As part of this, we funded a number of experimental projects on 'Third stream as second mission'. We used the results from this to inform the development of HEIF 4.

Quotec Ltd and the Science and Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex were commissioned to conduct interim and then final evaluations of the experimental projects:

  • First report (April 2007)
  • Final evaluation (September 2009)

Further information

For further information about our evaluations of third stream funding contact Rachel Tyrrell, tel 0117 931 7463, email

Page last updated 16 December 2016