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REF 2021 - declaration of personal circumstances

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The University is continuing to make preparations for the submission to the REF 2021. As part of these preparations, we want to ensure that all colleagues who have had personal circumstances that have impacted in their ability to research productively during the REF period have an opportunity to have those circumstances taken into account.

We are therefore inviting all colleagues, and in particular those who

  • are new to the University,
  • have recently been confirmed as REF eligible staff (for instance, through the REF research independence process, or through promotion),
  • have made declarations in the past but for whom circumstances have recently changed.

to declare their circumstances for REF if they so wish.

Declarations of personal circumstances enable us to acknowledge the impact these challenges may have had on individual colleagues' ability to research productively during the REF assessment period, whether they were at work or absent. They also help us gauge the cumulative effect that individual personal circumstances may have had on the productivity of a unit or department. Their declaration means that the total number of outputs required by a UOA may be reduced accordingly. It is therefore both in the individual’s and the University's interest that circumstances are declared and recognised

Circumstances that can be declared include:

  • Being an Early Career Researcher, defined as eligible members of staff who started their careers as independent researchers on or after 1 August 2016 (so have had a shorter period of eligibility)  
  • Qualifying periods of family-related leave (e.g. maternity, parental leave, adoption, bereavement)  
  • Constraints relating to family leave that fall outside of the standard allowances  
  • Caring responsibilities  
  • Ill health (including mental health) or injury  
  • Disability  
  • Gender reassignment   
  • Other circumstances related to protected characteristics or activities protected by employment legislation  
  • Secondments/career breaks outside of the HE sector.  

If you wish for any personal circumstances to be taken into account, you can declare them using the form available on the REF 2021 Code of Practice pages on the staff portal, which can be accessed using your University username and password. The form and guidance are available in the ‘Things to do now’ box. 

The form should be sent to Forms will be anonymised and sent to the Personal Circumstances Group which will review each declaration in strict confidence. 

 If you have any questions, please contact Nathan Helsby via

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