A researcher from Loughborough agritech spinout Zayndu, stood with the company's world-first ‘activated air’ seed processing system

Loughborough agritech spinout Zayndu, inventor of the world’s first ‘activated air’ seed processing system

Loughborough University excels in latest Knowledge Exchange Framework Assessment

Loughborough University’s success in working with business, public and third sector and commercialising its innovative research has been underlined in the third iteration of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF).

The KEF, produced by Research England, provides a range of information on the knowledge exchange activities of Higher Education Providers (HEPs) in England, including their business partnerships and impact on local growth and regeneration.

It groups institutions into ‘clusters’ of peers – institutions with similar characteristics such as how much research they do and in what subject areas. Loughborough University is in Cluster X, which is described as “large, high research intensive and broad-discipline universities undertaking a significant amount of excellent research”. 

KEF3, released today (Wednesday 27 September), shows Loughborough is in the highest quintile – quintile 5, classed as ‘very high engagement’ – for Working with business, Working with public and third sector, and Intellectual Property (IP) and commercialisation.

Loughborough is above the Cluster X average in 4 of the 7 perspectives (IP, Local Growth, Working with Business and Working with public and third sector.

Loughborough also performs strongly in Local growth and regeneration, retaining its place in quintile 4 – high engagement – and continues to see improvement in public and community engagement.

Speaking about Loughborough’s success in KEF3, Professor Dan Parsons, the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, said: “I am absolutely delighted by these fantastic results that demonstrate the extent, reach and significance of our knowledge exchange activity at Loughborough University.

“The dedication and hard work of our staff, students and partners is key to the outcomes surfaced in these results. Our fusion of research and innovation into one ecosystem helps drive and support the collaborations that underpin these results and ensure that our work makes real world differences and impacts society in positive and sustainable ways into the future.”

Examples of Loughborough’s Knowledge Exchange success include:

Working with business

Since 2002 project teams from across engineering, aerodynamics, ergonomics and sports science have all partnered adidas to make sport safer, more accessible and allow people to perform at their best, whilst developing the adidas talent pipeline.

IP and commercialisation

University spinout Zayndu helps global growers increase agricultural yield - by treating seeds with plasma. The plasma provides earlier, tighter germination – and grows stronger, healthier plants faster with natural resistance to disease. Offering around a 20% uplift in crop yield, Zayndu is seeing success in the US, UK and EU – and is currently raising investment to accelerate scale-up of its activities.

Working with public and third sector

For over 40 years the Centre for Research in Social Policy has collaborated with a range of partners, making a difference to the lives of millions of people – helping them to live in dignity. The Centre has built an international reputation for high-quality work on a range of issues, including the influential Minimum Income Standard that informs minimum wages, pension and benefit levels.

Local growth and regeneration

The University leads the Healthy and Innovative Loughborough Town Deal funded initiative that brings together five projects to support the development of new infrastructure, attract new businesses, provide support to people wanting to start their own businesses, and enhance the overall health and well-being of the local community.

Public and community engagement

Loughborough researchers took part in The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, the UK’s longest running science festival, for the second consecutive year. The Revolutionising Rehabilitation exhibit brought thousands of visitors, from the across the UK and beyond closer to the science being pioneered through the recently announced National Rehabilitation Centre, which will improve lives and livelihoods of people impacted by life changing events.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 23/143

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2024 and 10th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.