Consultation on second Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021)

Posted by hl11 at Dec 09, 2016 08:25 AM |

The four UK funding bodies for higher education have published a joint consultation on the arrangements for research assessment in a second Research Excellence Framework.

The consultation sets out proposals to build on the first Research Excellence Framework, conducted in 2014, and to incorporate the principles identified in Lord Stern’s Independent Review of the REF.

Read the Consultation Document

A letter from the Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, invited HEFCE to work alongside the other funding bodies to develop detailed proposals to take forward the recommendations from Lord Stern’s review for the next REF and to consult the higher education sector on these proposals in autumn 2016.

Lord Stern’s review acknowledged that the processes used to assess research excellence are well understood by the community and have, broadly speaking, delivered well against their objective to improve quality. The consultation proposes that an exercise broadly similar in approach to REF 2014 is the most appropriate mechanism for continuing to support our world-class research base.

The recommendations made in Lord Stern’s review are intended to reduce the burden and any distortions associated with the REF process while maintaining and improving incentives for research excellence. These include recommendations relating to:

  • the inclusion of all research-active staff
  • non-portability of outputs (Note 3)
  • the approach to research impact
  • the information required to assess the research environment
  • the introduction of an institutional-level assessment of impact and environment.

Alongside the implementation of Lord Stern’s recommendations, the consultation makes further proposals on the basis of evidence gathered in other REF2014 evaluation activity.

The consultation invites responses to proposals on:

  • overall approach
  • Unit of Assessment structure
  • expert panels
  • staff
  • collaboration
  • outputs
  • impact
  • environment
  • institutional-level assessment
  • outcomes and weightings
  • proposed timetable.