Research Excellence Framework overview
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a process of expert review. Higher education institutions (HEIs) will be invited to make submissions in 36 units of assessment. Submissions will be assessed by an expert sub-panel for each unit of assessment, working under the guidance of four main panels. Sub-panels will apply a set of generic assessment criteria and level definitions, to produce an overall quality profile for each submission.
The members of the REF panels were appointed by the four UK funding bodies. The roles and responsibilities of the panels and process for appointing them are detailed in units of assessment and recruitment of expert panels.
For the assessment phase of the exercise, additional assessors will be appointed to extend the panels' depth and breadth of expertise. Sub-panels will apply a set of generic assessment criteria and level definitions, to produce an overall quality profile for each submission. Panel criteria and working methods set out in detail how the panels will assess submissions. They will assess the quality of research under three broad headings:
- Outputs (65%): the panels will assess the quality of submitted research outputs in terms of their ‘originality, significance and rigour', with reference to international research quality standards
- Impact (20%): the sub-panels will assess the ‘reach and significance' of impacts on the economy, society and/or culture that were underpinned by excellent research conducted in the submitted unit, as well as the submitted unit's approach to enabling impact from its research
- Environment (15%): the sub-panels will assess the research environment in terms of its ‘vitality and sustainability', including its contribution to the vitality and sustainability of the wider discipline or research base
‘Although I have a reasonable understanding of REF the event helped me to look at how further developments can be introduced at my institution which could have a positive effect on future submissions. ’
Vitae Preparing for the REF event participant