The REF environment statement is a crucial descriptive document which, at its best, demonstrates the current ‘vitality and sustainability’ of the Unit of Assessment (UOA). It is worth 15% of the marks and measures whether the environment is conducive to producing research of world-wide, international or national quality and the extent to which impact is enabled.
The template for the statement has four sections:
- unit context and structure, research and impact strategy;
- income infrastructure;
- facilities’ collaboration and contribution to the research base, economy and society.
The length of the statement is between 8,000 and 12,000 words for UOAs of up to 70 staff.
For REF 2021, there are two environment statements; the first is an institutional one (REF 5a) and the second is submitted one per UOA (REF 5b). Although a pilot exercise to assess the institutional level statements is being run in REF2021, these marks will not contribute to the outcome – the institutional statement provides context to the UOA statements and will only be looked at in conjunction with those for each UOA.
The UOA statements are accompanied by three items of data as standard:
- research income;
- research doctoral degrees awarded;
- research income in kind (use of RCUK facilities).
UOAs are encouraged to draw on other data to illustrate the content of their statements – for example, on equality, integrity, open data etc. Advice and suggestions on this are available from the Forum for Responsible Research Metrics.
Want to know more?
More information on the REF can be found on the REF 2021 website.
Also, have a look at our other BU REF Week blog posts!