Preparing for Our Research Excellence Framework (REF) Submission

Research is central to all we do as a university, and the Research Excellence Framework (REF) is an important way in which this work is recognised and rewarded. The REF result greatly influences our competitive position and, thereby, affects our ability to continue to attract excellent staff and students. The REF result also determines how ‘QR’ money is distributed across the HE sector, and this money helps fund research and impact even when it is not supported by a research grant or contract.  High quality research underpins our teaching, our reputation, and our contribution to society.  Given the value of this exercise, it is important that we are well prepared to ensure our submission properly represents the research excellence at our university.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a periodic measurement of research quality in universities and other higher education institutions in the UK against international standards of excellence. The REF outcomes are used by the UK Funding Councils to distribute their block grant for research, and offer an objective picture of research quality across the UK. It first took place in 2014 and the next exercise will be conducted in 2021.

REF 2021 - Latest Update

The UK’s four higher education funding bodies have published the draft guidance and criteria on making submissions to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, for consultation. All of the document can be found here.

If you have any comments to feed into Lancaster’s response to the consultation please discuss with your faculty REF lead or send directly to Yvonne Fox, Head of Research Services.

The timetable for REF submission and preparations can be found here.


Lancaster University Research Enhancement Process

Lancaster’s preparations for REF2021 are already underway. Last year we put in place a Research Enhancement Process to ensure that faculties are supported in delivering the best REF submission possible. This process frames our activities at the university, faculty, department and individual level. The aim of the Research Enhancement Process is to deliver research excellence through a mentoring and developmental culture, and is broader than the REF, but included REF preparation as this is an important component of how research is funded in the UK.

Read about the university preparations in full here: REF2021_communications_Jan18_finalv3

Read about Pure REF 2021 module guidance for departments and module administrators and Unit of Assessment Coordinators.

REF Information Sessions

Please come along to one of the organised REF information meetings between February and April 2018. Although the meetings will have a specific focus for each faculty all the sessions will include a general presentation and are open to any academic staff member who would like more information about Lancaster’s REF preparations. These meetings will include the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) and members of Faculty REF leadership teams, who will be happy to answer any questions or queries. the information  Further meetings will be arranged in the future if there is interest from staff.

For dates, please click here.