The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The outcomes of the REF are used to benchmark research quality, to provide accountability on the use of public funding and to inform the allocation of government funding to universities (quality-related funding).
Three distinct elements are assessed:
- quality of research outputs
- impact of research beyond academia
- the environment that supports research.
Submissions for REF 2021 will close on 31 March 2021. This deadline has been postponed from November to take into consideration delays due to COVID-19. Submissions and outcomes will be published by the funding bodies in 2022.
Planning for REF 2021
The University aims to submit a REF 2021 return that showcases the excellence and breadth of the research undertaken by our staff during the REF period (since 2014).
A REF Planning Group chaired by the Pro Vice Chancellor Research & Innovation has been working to oversee preparations, including the preparation and implementation of the University’s Code of Practice which ensures adherence to the principles of transparency, consistency, accountability, and inclusivity.
The University is required to include certain data about staff in the REF return. In addition, information about staff and individuals external to the University may be included in textual parts of our submission (e.g. in the environment statements for each Unit of Assessment).
Data will be managed in accordance to the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations, and the University’s Data Protection policies. Our Data Collection Statements for staff and non-staff provide further detail on how data will be managed and shared.
Find out more
Further information about our preparations for the submission are available on the Research pages of the Staff Portal (password protected).
See our REF 2014 Results.
Visit the REF 2021 website for a full explanation of REF and the latest process information and documents.
REF Code of practice
Our REF Code of Practice sets out our processes to be fair and transparent in:
- the identification of staff with significant responsibility for research
- determining who is an independent researcher
- selection of outputs
This includes approaches to supporting staff with exceptional circumstances.
Download the Ref Code of Practice (PDF, 349KB).