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The University of Plymouth has been recognised for its work to inspire and support future generations of entrepreneurs, and its commitment to engaging with the business community in the South West and beyond.
In the third edition of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), Plymouth is listed among the highest ranked universities for its work to commercialise its intellectual property into spinout companies now tackling many of the key global challenges of our time.
It is also one of the highest ranked universities for the support it provides to graduate startups, and for its ongoing efforts to enable small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) to benefit from its expertise and facilities.

Our success in the new Knowledge Exchange Framework is a hugely positive endorsement of our work to inspire innovation and generate economic growth. It acknowledges our long-held commitment to using our world-class research to solve many of the planet’s key challenges at the same time as delivering regional, national and international benefit. It further highlights how the University is harnessing its expertise to create opportunities for its students, staff and the wider business community.

Adrian Dawson
Director of Research & Innovation

Over many decades, the University has fostered an impressive track record of creating an environment in which small businesses can both be established and thrive.
That has led to the launch of seven spinout companies as a means of commercialising the work of its world-leading researchers, a level of success recognised through the KEF process. Operating in fields as diverse as energy generation, agricultural technology, vaccine and antibiotic development, and maritime cyber security, these companies now have a combined annual turnover of more than £15million.
Also acknowledged through the KEF was the guidance extended to students and graduates right across the University through The Cube. It offers advice, funding and support at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey, and in the past three years has supported over 4,400 student interactions and generated 230 businesses, who have a collective turnover of more than £3.3million.
The University was also listed among the country’s leading universities for its work to support local growth and regeneration. This reflects its ongoing work to support the development and delivery of local economic strategies, and its work managing schemes such as the Cornwall Innovation Centres.
It also acknowledges the University’s role in partnerships with key sectors and wider innovation across the broader business community, in fields including offshore renewable energy, marine autonomy and environmental intelligence.
That commitment to the regional economy is also reflected through a number of initiatives that enable the University’s facilities – from the Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre (PEMC) to the Coastal, Ocean and Sediment Transport (COAST) laboratory – to be used by businesses in the development and delivery of new products and services.

What is the Knowledge Exchange Framework

Administered by Research England, part of UK Research and Innovation, the Knowledge Exchange Framework demonstrates the range of valuable activities universities conduct with external partners across seven perspectives.
These perspectives include working with partners, local growth, public and community engagement, and the commercialisation of research.
The 2023 report is the third of its kind, with the University of Plymouth having advanced its performance in the majority of the benchmarks.
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