Research Excellence Framework 2014

Information about the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 and the methods of assessment

Research in UK Universities is subject to periodic peer review to evaluate the quality of research. These reviews are carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), along with the equivalent bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The outcomes inform the selective distribution of block QR grants (Quality Related funding) by the funding councils. Around 10% of the University of Leicester's annual income is derived from the QR allocation.

Find out more about past Research Assessment Exercises (RAE)

Research Excellence Framework

Following RAE2008, the funding councils (led by HEFCE) developed a new method for research assessment, the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The first submission to REF will take place in November 2013 with the results due out in late 2014.

Information from HEFCE on the regulations and timetable for REF2014:

REF2014 panels

For the REF, staff will be assigned to Units of Assessment (UoAs), which are grouped under four main panels, rather than departments. Please note that not all of the UoAs for the REF map neatly to the University’s departments.

Find out more about REF2014 panels and UoAs

REF Internal Preparations

  • The University’s REF Code of Practice has now been published. The purpose of this document is to set out how the University will apply the principles of fairness in its selection of staff to submit for the REF.
    If you may be eligible for inclusion in the REF, please take some time to read the code of practice.
  • The University also has a REF2014 Strategy which explains the University’s plans for the REF.
  • FAQs about REF2014 outputs, preparations, submissions.

A copy of the latest internal timetable for REF preparations is now available (Word document)

How the is REF assessed

The overall profile will be made up of three sub-profiles each relating to a different part of the submission (outputs, impact and environment): you will find more information on each of these three sections below.


All academic staff and some researchers (such as fellows holding their own funding) who are in a post at the University on 31 October 2013 may be eligible for submission to the REF, as long as they are employed for at least 0.2 FTE.


Outputs will be weighted at 65% of the overall profile. A wide range of outputs can be submitted including: books, journal articles, patents and chapters. To be eligible for submission, outputs must have first come into the public domain between 1st January 2008 and 31st December 2013 (inclusive).

Each person will submit 4 outputs, except where special personal circumstances apply. These will be assessed through a process of expert review, informed by citation information in subjects where robust data is available (for example, in medicine and science). Each UoA will make a separate submission. The results will be received as a profile showing the proportion of the submissions at each of the 5 grades (4*, 3*, 2*, 1* and U, where 4* is the highest).

Staff can only nominate outputs for submission to the REF via the REF2014 module in IRIS. Find out more about the role of IRIS in the REF and how to select outputs.

Special Personal Circumstances

If someone has special personal circumstances this may entitle them to a reduction in the number of outputs they need to submit. These circumstances include part time working, early career researchers and maternity/ paternity leave. Reductions are worked out using calculations set by HEFCE.

All eligible staff must complete a personal circumstances form (Word document).This will ensure that equal opportunities issues such as health effects and early career status are taken into consideration. 
Personal circumstances forms can be resubmitted if your circumstances change.  


Impact is defined as a cultural, social or economic effect of research on non-academics.

This new area will be weighted at 20% of the profile. Each unit will submit case studies of impacts that have taken place between 1st January 2008 and 31st July 2013, underpinned by research dating back to January 1993. The number of case studies will depend on the number of staff included in a submission.

In addition, each unit will submit a statement about how impact has been enabled and supported in the unit during the same period.

Find out more about impact in the REF including Impact Case Study support packs


Environment will be weighted at 15% of the profile. It will include data on research income and postgraduate research students in the period 1st August 2008 to 31st July 2013.

Each unit will also submit a research environment statement covering the period 1st January 2008 to 31st July 2013 outlining how the unit supports research. The length of the statement will depend on the number of staff submitted.

Guidance and supporting data for completing the Environment Statement (REF5) is available.

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Contacts for REF

Leicester Research Archive
0116 252 2039
About the LRA
LRA website

Research Support Office


0116 252 2759
RSO website