Research Innovation Enterprise

REF2021 – Initial Decisions

It’s Autumn 2017, so right on cue…….The Funding Bodies’ initial decisions on the next REF have been published.

A summary of the information is captured below:

-Assessment outcomes will be the products of expert review, informed by indicators where appropriate.
-Profile weightings will be as follows; Outputs 60%; Impact 25%; Environment 15%.
-Several UOAs have been revised:  A single UOA for engineering; UOA 17 to be restructured to form UOA 14 Geography and Environmental studies and UOA 15 Archaeology; Film and Screen studies will be located in UOA 33 (currently 35) Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts and Screen Studies.
-There will be no institutional level Impact case studies though they will run a pilot which will affect future exercises.
-There will be no institutional level Environment statement. Institutional level information will be included in the UOA-level environment template.
-The environment template will be more structured and use more quantitative data.
-There will be a “discrete” section of the UOA environment template devoted to interdisciplinary research.
-There will be no impact template but it will be an “explicit section in the environment element”


There will be an alignment of the definitions for impact so that Research Council definitions of ‘academic impact’ and ‘wider impact’ align with the purposes of the REF.
-There will be additional guidance on the criteria of ‘reach and significance’ and impacts arising from public engagement
-Impact on teaching will include teaching within the university as well as beyond.
-The impact case study template will be revised to include a set of mandatory fields.
-Impact will stay with the institution where the research was conducted.
-Underpinning research will remain at 2*.
-The period for underpinning research will be 1 January 2000- 31 December 2020.
-Impact can occur from 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2020.
-Case studies can be a continuation of a 2014 Case study but they will need to provide evidence of additional impact.
-A similar number of case studies will be required. Further work is needed to determine the criteria.

The ‘meatier’ decisions around staff eligibility and portability of outputs have not yet been announced. The Funding Bodies are inviting further views on the proposed approaches as outlined a recent webinar, which RIO will be responding to in due course.

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