REF week on the Blog! Introduction to the Research Excellence Framework

Next week is REF Week on the Blog! Each day we will be explaining a different element of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) as a quick reference guide to help you prepare for the forthcoming REF exercise – REF2014.

What is the REF? – The Research Excellence Framework (REF) has replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) as the new process for assessing the volume and quality of research in UK HEIs. As with the RAE, the results of the REF will determine the annual quality-related research (QR) grant distributed from HEFCE to HEIs in England.

The REF will assess research excellence through a process of expert review, informed by indicators where appropriate. It will be based on HEIs submitting evidence of their research activity and outcomes, to be assessed by expert panels.

The REF will focus on assessing three elements, which together reflect the key characteristics of research excellence (weightings for REF2014 in brackets):

  • The quality of research outputs (65%)
  • The reach and significance of the impact of research (20%)
  • The vitality of the research environment (15%)

Each of these elements will be assessed against appropriate criteria for excellence, and rated by expert panels on a five-point scale ranging from 4* (excellent, world-leading) to Unclassified.

The REF assessment period started on 1st January 2008 and the first REF submission will take place in Autumn 2013, with the results published in December 2014.

You can access the latest presentation about the REF, written by the REF team, here: REF slide pack Sep 2011

Check out the posts appearing on the Blog every day next week as part of REF Week!