COVID-19 Adjustments

Research England has agreed a number of adjustments to the REF Guidance on Submissions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The submission deadline has been postponed until 31 March 2021.
  • The impact period has been extended to 31 December 2020.

Further adjustments are available in guidance released by Research England 31 July 2020.

  • The staff census date has not been adjusted and remains 31 July 2020.
  • The publication period has not been adjusted and ends 31 December 2020.
  • The environment period has not been adjusted and ends 31 July 2020.
  • The underpining research period for impact case studies has not been adjusted and ends 31 December 2020.

Introduction to REF

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 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 ‘QR’ block grant for research, and offer an objective picture of research quality across the UK. It first took place in 2014 and the next assessment will be conducted in 2021.

The REF 2021 result will greatly influence our competitive position and, thereby, affects our ability to continue to attract excellent staff and students. The result also determines how much ‘QR’ funding we receive, which 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.

If you have any queries about REF2021 please email

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