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Impact – University of Reading

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Impact is the benefit that research has on the world outside of academia.  Impact is increasingly important in academia and the following resources provide guidance on different aspects of impact including:

What is Impact?

Impact and the Life Sciences

Impact and the Physical Sciences

Impact and the Social Sciences

Impact and the Arts and Humanities

UKRI Pathways to Impact


Privacy Notice for REF2021

This Privacy Notice is for any non-staff member providing information for use by the University of Reading as part of its REF2021 Impact Case Studies. This applies to all information which may be personal in nature.


The Research Excellence Framework

The REF is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions undertaken by Research England.


The REF is a process of expert review, carried out by expert panels for each of the 34 subject-based units of assessment (UOAs), under the guidance of four main panels. Expert panels are made up of senior academics, international members, and research users assess each UOAs publications, research environment and impact case studies.


A REF Impact case study (ICS) is a narrative which describes how research, conducted during a specific time-frame at a named institution, resulted in a change, had an effect on or benefited culture, the economy, the environment, health, public policy, quality of life or society.


The information submitted to REF2021 will be used for the purposes of scoring the ICS through a process of expert review. The information may be shared with organisations to inform the distribution of public funds for research and to carry out their statutory functions. The information may also be used to analyse and monitor the REF2021 submission and may be provided to a third party for analysis in work commissioned by Research England. REF ICS will be made publicly available.


The information provided by a non-staff member to support an ICS will be used by the University of Reading to develop the ICS for submission to REF2021.


Privacy Notice

Information provided by a third party may be included in the ICS narrative and may include textual information in which you are referenced. Personal data is commonly limited to name and job title only. Other personal details will not normally be submitted to REF2021.


The University of Reading will hold any personal information provided in accordance with its obligations under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 and that more information regarding their data rights can be found in the Research Privacy Notice [PDF 132KB]  


Once submitted any personal data provided subject to the Privacy Notice and associated GDPR policies issued by UKRI which can be found here.


Additional Confidentiality Provisions

If the information provided by a third party to the University of Reading to support an ICS is of a sensitive or confidential nature additional confidentiality provisions can be requested.

These provisions include:

  • Providing a redacted version of the ICS for publication by REF2021
  • Withholding the ICS from publication by REF2021
  • Vetoing specific REF2021 UOA Panellists from reviewing the ICS
  • Reviewing the ICS under provisions put in place by REF2021 to comply with the Official Secrets Act.

For more information on the confidentiality provisions please contact the Senior Impact Development Manager, University of Reading (

For more information on REF2021 please see here.

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