Trent Building

November 27, 2019, by Rob Ounsworth

REF2021: we’re in good shape thanks to your dedication and continuing hard work

REF2021 logo

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, updates on progress towards REF2021

We are approaching the final stages of preparations for REF2021 and will take stock of our submission in the new year. While there remains a tremendous amount to do, I believe we are well-prepared thanks to everyone’s efforts.

Our REF results are worth around £50 million per year in funding to the University and directly feed into our reputation for delivering world-leading research. REF also feeds into UK leagues tables such as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and Complete University Guide and as such its influence extends beyond research and impact.

All this work requires a daunting amount of data, evidence-gathering, rigorous assessment and forensic attention to detail. I am hugely grateful to our REF coordinators and all colleagues who are working so hard to ensure our submission is as good as it can possibly be.

A strong team

We start from a strong position. Not least we have a strong team who are working to support work for all Units of Assessment (UoAs).

Overall REF coordination comes from Soma Mukherjee in Research and Innovation.

Professor Neil Crout, academic lead for Impact, is working closely with Dr Christina Mellor, REF Impact Manager, to better evaluate and improve our impact case studies. Neil is also supporting each UoA in compiling outputs.

Professor Lynda Pratt, with Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Strategy and Performance Dr Richard Masterman and REF outputs and environment officer Athina Meletiou, is working on our Institutional Environment Statement and preparation of the environment statements of our UoAs. The institutional statement is a new requirement for REF2021 and involves an examination of our research infrastructure, services, people and facilities. It is a heartening reminder of our strengths in supporting the delivery of world-class research.

REF Systems Coordinator Dr Rachel Larder is working with Joy Wilmott-Carr, Research Systems and Business Improvement Manager, to ensure the efficiency and accuracy of our REF-related systems.

Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, led by Pro-Vice-Chancellor for EDI Professor Sarah Sharples and Professor Lucy Donaldson, with Lorna Lord from Human Resources, is further ensuring our processes are fair and proactive in ensuring all eligible staff have the opportunity to submit to REF.

REF landmarks

The REF Readiness Review for 2018 was completed in May 2019. Our institutional statement is progressing and we currently working on the processes and details of reviews of outputs, impact and environment for 2019-2020. In June our REF Code of Practice was accepted by Research England. This outlines the fair and transparent identification of REF eligible staff, determining who is an independent researcher, and the selection of outputs, including approaches to supporting staff with personal circumstances. In January we will be conducting a stock take of our whole REF return for all units of assessment so that we can give feedback for final preparations before submission.

A timeline showing progress towards REF2021

Thanks to your support and commitment we have made tremendous progress

REF2021 rules are complex but we have made tremendous progress, as individuals and across teams. There is strong evidence that the way we have been working towards REF incremental gains is optimising our submission and enriching our wider research performance. Twelve months from the deadline of 27 November 2020 for submission, there is much to play for, and your dedication and resilience is invaluable in better positioning our University and extending our reputation as a world-renowned research institution.

My sincere thanks go out to all academic and supporting colleagues so committed to working towards REF2021.




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