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ICR ranked amongst top UK universities for partnerships and public engagement

School student looking through microscope

The Institute of Cancer Research has been rated as one of the UK's top higher education institutions in three categories in the latest Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), a Government assessment of universities' influence on society.

The ICR placed in the top fifth – the highest mark available – in research partnership, intellectual property and commercialisation, and public and community engagement, alongside other leading institutions such as Kings College, Imperial College London, and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

The KEF is a partner assessment to the REF, which looks at research excellence at UK higher education institutions (HEIs). Both are robust, large-scale exercises carried out by Research England, which oversees research funding for the university sector.

Earlier this year the ICR ranked second for overall research quality and impact in the latest REF assessment, and top in biological sciences.

Industry collaboration

The ICR is one of the world's leading HEIs in industry collaboration and currently has more than 100 commercial partners.

Alongside a range of new collaboration agreements with companies over the past year, we continued our work under alliances with companies including AstraZeneca, Elekta and Merck.

The past year also saw the opening of the Innovation Gateway, a new laboratory and collaboration building launched as part of The London Cancer Hub, a major redevelopment programme led by leading partners the ICR and the London Borough of Sutton.

Public engagement

In 2021-22, we also took part in more than 35 public events, reaching more than 2,350 members of the public, and our staff and students contributed some 300 hours of their time to public engagement activities.

Highlights of our public engagement programme included the launch of the 'Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope' exhibition at first the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester and then the Science Museum in London, featuring a range of ICR researchers. We also took part in a Cancer 'Lates' event at the Science Museum.

We engaged more than 200 young people from the boroughs of Sutton, Croydon and beyond at the Sutton Science Festival at Sutton Grammar School, where our researchers talked to students about the variety of career opportunities at the ICR, alongside demonstrating some of the science they do in the lab.

Dr Jon Wilkinson, our Interim Director of Business and Innovation, said:

"Our strong performance in the latest Knowledge Exchange Framework underscores the influence we are having outside our own walls, especially in commercialisation and partnership – which ultimately lead to benefits for cancer patients – and engagement with the public. We're determined to continue to expand our influence, exploring innovative ways to partner with industry and commercialise our research."

Find out more

The KEF's interactive dashboards show the results for each institution taking part and explanations behind the metrics used to assess performance for each category. It is also possible to compare institutions.


public engagement commercialisation kef knowledge exchange framework STEM schools partnerships
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