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Research excellence framework 2021

Research and teaching is what makes us a university

Through our research we are tackling societal problems and transforming the lives of individuals and organisations in the region and beyond.

Improving our activity in Research and Academic Enterprise is a key theme of our current strategy.

REF 2021 at Leeds Beckett

Professor Andrew Slade & Professor Cathy Barnes

What is REF 2021?

REF 2021 is the Research Excellence Framework, administered by Research England. It is the current system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions and happens every 7 years. It is scheduled for 2021 but in reality, much of the preparation will happen between now and 2020, when we have to provide our evidence.

REF2021 – Response to the Coronavirus situation

In light of the UK’s response to the Coronovirus Research England are currently considering the full contingency arrangements for the REF2021 exercise.  Research England recognise that institutions are needing to divert staff resource to other critical areas and have reassured institutions that such activities should be prioritised without concern for the effect on REF2021 preparations. To this end Research England have put the REF2021 exercise on hold until further notice to enable this, and are now working on the adapted details of the framework. The original final REF2021 submission deadline of 27 November 2020 will no longer apply, and Research England will announce a new submission deadline no later than eight months prior to the deadline. 

Why does it matter?

Our results from the REF will determine the university’s funding from QR, impact upon our league tables and impact the reputation we have as a university. It is very important to us to perform well across the three elements that are assessed: the quality of our outputs (e.g. publications, performances, and exhibitions), our impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports our research.

What is the code of practice?

Every university that intends to submit to REF 2021 is required to develop, document and apply a code of practice on the fair and transparent identification of staff with significant responsibility for research; determining who is an independent researcher; and the selection of outputs.

During 2018/19, following wide consultation, our University’s REF 2021 Code of Practice was developed.  It was approved by our University’s Academic Board in June 2019 and was then submitted to Research England for final ratification.  Confirmation was received from Research England in early November 2019 that our REF 2021 Code of Practice had been approved.

The REF 2021 Code of Practice can be accessed here.

Colleagues in our University are now working towards finalising preparations for the REF 2021 submission and the following activities will be taking place over the next few months:

  • REF Impact Case Study Workshop (December 2019)
  • REF Impact Case Study writing Bootcamps (February 2020)
  • REF Environmental Statement reviews (Early 2020)

Key dates coming up for the University’s REF 2021 submission in 2020 are as follows:

  • January 2020 - Formal release of the REF 2021 submission system.
  • 31 July 2020 - Census date for staff who will be entered into the REF 2021.
  • 07 November 2020 - Closing date for submissions.
  • 31 December 2020 - End of publication period which is the cut-off point for publication of research outputs, and for outputs underpinning impact case studies.

Please contact Kelly Butterworth (Research Impact Officer) – or Stuart Morris (REF & Research Policy Manager) - for further details concerning the above activities.

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