Initial decisions on REF 2021: summary points

 

On 1 September HEFCE published their initial decisions on some high-level aspects of REF 2021. Here’s the summary of the decisions:

Assessment and Scoring 

  • As in REF 2014, REF 2021 will assess the following:
    • outputs – 60% (down from 65%)
    • impact– 25% (up from 20%)
    • environment – 15%
  • The five point scale from unclassified to 4* (world leading) remains the same

Outputs

  • There will be strong support for interdisciplinary research: each sub panel will have at least one appointed member to oversee assessment of  interdisciplinary research (also see environment section below)
  • A Reserve output may be submitted when a publication does not appear in time for the REF submission deadline

Environment

The environment template will be expanded and restructured to include:

  • More quantitative data (details tbc in further guidance)
  • Data on research income, income in kind and research degrees awarded (as in REF 2014)
  • Information on enabling impact
  • Information on supporting collaboration beyond HE
  • Information on structures to support interdisciplinarity
  • Unit’s approach to Open Access/open research
  • Impact template (in REF 2014 this was a standalone template)
  • Support for equality and diversity
  • Institutional level information

A standalone institutional level environment statement will not be included in REF 2021 as recommended by the Stern Review.

Impact

  • Definitions of ‘academic impact’ and ‘wider impact’ will be aligned with the Research Councils’ definitions (both are part of the dual support system)
  • Further guidance will be provided around: ‘reach and significance’ of impact; impact arising from public engagement; impact on teaching, to include impact within, as well as beyond, the submitting institution.
  • Impact must be underpinned by  ‘excellent’ research of at least 2* quality and be produced between 01/01/2000 and 31/12/2020. The impact claimed in the case studies must take place between 01/08/2013 and 31/07/2020
  • The impact case study template will be expanded to include more questions and a section on additional contextual data
  • Cases studies will require “routine provision of audit evidence”, but this will remain confidential and not be given to the panel
  • The number of case studies required is still to be decided. It will possibly be linked to the number of outputs
  • Continuation of case studies from 2014 is allowed, but impact must take place during the REF 2021 assessment period (please see 2nd bullet above)

Please click here to view Initial Decisions on REF 2021 full document.

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