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#UniForReading: Helping our local area to grow – University of Reading

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#UniForReading: Helping our local area to grow

Release Date 31 March 2021

The Oracle in Reading town centre

Thames Valley businesses are being helped to grow and regenerate thanks to leading support from the University of Reading, according to a new national assessment.

The first UK-wide Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) launched today and shows that the University of Reading is making a significant contribution to growth and regeneration in the local area.

Among the cluster of large research-intensive institutions across the UK, the University of Reading was scored higher than average in four of the six segments, and in the top 30% of all UK Higher Education institutions for local growth and regeneration, working with business and research partnerships.

Sam Foley, Chief Financial Officer at the University of Reading said:

“As an anchor institution in the Thames Valley we have a crucial role and responsibility to work with and for our region. I am pleased to see that the first KEF has recognised the role that we are already playing, and it is a key priority for the institution to be engaged in the wider community.

“I am particularly encouraged to see that the University has been ranked so strongly for its contribution to local growth and regeneration. Our own research has begun to assess the contribution of the University to the economy in our region and nationally.

“As well as headline figures about the value added to our region through jobs creation and spending, the report and this assessment showcase some of exemplary work that colleagues have been doing in partnership with local businesses and organisations to make a difference for Reading, the wider region and the UK as a whole.”

Case study: Thames Valley Science Park and British Museum partnership

The University of Reading has partnered with the British Museum to develop a new research collection and storage facility on the site of the Thames Valley Science Park in Shinfield. The partnership will provide cultural and academic benefits to the region and is part of a thriving site helping the Thames Valley to grow.

Find out more about the partnership at:


Professor Dominik Zaum, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation at the University of Reading said:

"Our strong performance in this assessment demonstrates that we recognise the value of knowledge exchange in research. As well as boosting innovation and skills in the region, our knowledge exchange is literally saving lives, such as the exemplary work that colleagues have done to predict flooding following tropical storms around the world to assist governments and aid agencies support at-risk communities.

“The latest ranking is also a helpful milestone to help us assess our future engagement with the Thames Valley region which is a key strategic priority.”

Case study: Marvellous Mums

Marvellous Mums is a bespoke programme run in partnership between the University of Reading, local community groups and international businesses and is backed by evidence about the impact of promoting confidence and aspirations in families.

Learn more about the Marvellous Mums programme at:


First national assessment of Knowledge Exchange

The University of Reading joins more than 100 institutions that have been assessed as part of the first Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) organised by Research England.

The data, available on the KEF’s interactive and detailed new website, informs a series of metrics that look at the performance of English Higher Education Providers (HEPs) from a variety of different perspectives. These perspectives include public and community engagement, working with partners ranging from big businesses to small local firms, and how they commercialise their research.

This data shows the rich contributions English HEPs make, both economically and socially, on both local and national levels. The knowledge exchange that underpins the KEF will help promote cooperation and drive continuous improvement in the higher education sector.

Chief Executive Officer of UK Research and Innovation Dame Ottoline Leyser said:

“UKRI values the diverse and varied contributions that our higher education institutions make to society. The Knowledge Exchange Framework, published today by Research England, reflects and celebrates this diversity.

“The KEF also brings together rich accounts of how our universities engage in their local areas, contributing in varied and often innovative ways to their local communities and economies. As well as researchers and innovators, the activities captured in the framework highlight the diversity of essential roles - from technicians and project managers, to technology transfer professionals - in connecting discovery to prosperity and public good.” 


Further details about the KEF assessment are available at:

Read more about the University of Reading’s Economic Impact Report conducted by Hatch Regeneris, which looks at the financial value that the University makes to the local, regional and national economy. The report is available to download here.

Find out more about flood forecasting supported by the University of Reading at:

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