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
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
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.
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.
Last week we published an initial analysis of all the evidence that we have compiled to date about good practice in research commercialisation, and invited university experts to provide us with additional views, weblinks and papers as responses to a survey. This evidence will inform the work of the HEFCE-universities Knowledge Exchange Framework programme. We…
This post is based on the analysis of the impact case studies submitted to REF 2014, carried out by King’s College London team.Read the full analysis here
REF 2014 was the first exercise to assess the impact of research outside of academia. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) submitted case studies to REF 2014 which aimed to showcase how research undertaken over the past 20 years had benefited society beyond academia – whether in the UK or globally. The case studies outline the effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life that have arisen from research.
Key findings of the analysis
Over 85% of REF 2014 impact case studies included multidisciplinary research
Case studies were diverse and wide ranging
The impact of UK HEIs is global
‘Informing government policy‘was the largest type of impact across all panels, followed by ‘Parliamentary scrutiny‘ and ‘Technology commercialisation’
Interestingly, despite the allowable period for underpinning research stretching back to 1993, the majority of research cited was published since 2008
Top beneficiaries of impact from case studies submitted to REF 2014 are companies, students and children. The top three beneficiaries of impact from the case studies submitted to Panel D (Art & Design: History, Practice and Theory) are students, schools and communities. Click here to see the distribution of all potential beneficiaries of research impact found in REF 2014 case studies.
Why is this currently on my mind? It is because today the UK funding bodies have announced the membership of an Interdisciplinary Research Advisory Panel (IDAP) for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. I have been appointed as chair and will be working with colleagues from across the UK and across disciplinary backgrounds to consider…
As discussed in our previous blog the report on UoA 34 mentions that Art & Design (UoA 34) proved itself as a leader ininterdisciplinary research. In REF 2014 interdisciplinarity emerged as a distinct and a growing phenomenon, particularly within areas of product and digital design, film, curatorship, media studies, conceptual and performance based art practice.
An interesting point for reflection is that although Art & Design (UoA 34) did feature a significant volume of interdisciplinary research it was not identified as such by the submitting HEIs.
Professor Judith Petts, Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive, University of Plymouth distinguishes several important factors that can impede or encourage interdisciplinary research. Please refer to HEFCE blog for the full article.
The policy landscape
Interdisciplinary outputs in REF 2014 were rated equally well to mono- disciplinary ones
Despite the fact that the academic community values interdisciplinary research, many would not advise an early-career researcher to participate before they had established their own disciplinary credentials.
Working ‘away from home’
Working away from your discipline can be somewhat uncomfortable
a large team working across different sites, organisations or sectors; or
funders and publishers guiding and sourcing reviewers with the skills and diversity of understanding to ensure robust and effective peer review of interdisciplinary proposals and work
Culture and structure of the academic organisations
There is a real opportunity to promote the research landscape that delivers and facilitates interdisciplinary research that addresses complex socio-economic and more global challenges.
In REF 2014, UCA submitted to Unit of Assessment 34 – Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory which was part of Panel D. This blog and the two to follow, will provide a synopsis of the key data on submissions, feedback on the process of assessment and an overview of the research in the sector. Click here, if you would like to read the whole report.
Unit 34 comprised all areas of art and design, including practice, art history and art theory. This sector proved itself as a leader in interdisciplinary research, particularly evident in product and digital design, film curatorship, media studies, conceptual and performance based art practice. A significant number of collaborative, team driven projects went beyond the main panel’s remit and into engineering, medical and digital design. It was also the leader in practice-based research.
Unit 34 received the widest range of output types across the whole REF exercise.
Photographic practice and Design were noted for their large number of high quality outputs.
The Crafts were noted for the growth in the interface between traditional making practices and digital technologies, but the number of outputs had significantly declined since RAE 2008, probably as a result of the closure of programmes.
Emergent research activity was noticeable in curatorial studies, critical theory and digital and engineering design.
Inter-cultural fine art practice was an important feature. Practice connected to ethnography and anthropology in fine art, design and theoretical studies was especially noted.
Exhibition activity across all subject areas had grown considerably since RAE 2008 and collaboration between practice-based researchers and museum professionals led to the expansion of fields of practice in museological and archival environments.
The history and theory of art, architecture and design revealed itself to be a major national strength.
Physical objects were only a small percentage of the total submission.
57% of the total submission in this sector was from publishing – authored books, edited books, chapters in books and journal articles.