We are delighted to announce that BU has made a submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. The REF is hugely important to the University in terms of both funding and reputation.
The submission represents a significant achievement, involving many staff across the University over the past seven years. Congratulations to all colleagues who have worked so hard and contributed to our REF2021 submission.
Since the last submission to REF2014, BU’s research capacity has grown substantially. We submitted 29% of eligible staff to REF2014 and are proud to have submitted 76% of eligible staff to REF2021. This represents the growth in volume and quality of research across the University as well as the inclusive nature of our approach. During this time, we have also grown the breadth of our research, making submissions to 13 units of assessment in REF2021, compared to 8 units of assessment in REF2014, with new submissions including English Language & Literature, Law and Social Work & Social Policy. The submission represents a substantial increase in research volume and excellence being undertaken at BU since REF2014 and is an incredible achievement for all.
The submission comprises 1,209 research outputs, 47 impact case studies and 14 environment statements!
Equality, diversity and inclusivity have been a key driver for the REF preparations, shaping and influencing decisions at every stage. We are delighted that the equality profile of the submission is much more representative of our academic community than in REF2014. Of particular note, the gap between the number of men and women submitted has decreased from 15% in REF2014 to 5.6% in REF2021, with women being only slightly less likely to be submitted. Compared to REF2014, the number of men submitted to REF2021 increased by 174%, whilst the number of women submitted increased by 325%.
Preparation for submission has been a substantial team effort, spanning the whole University. However, particular note should be given to the UOA Leadership Teams consisting of UOA Leads, Impact and Output Champions and the Research Development and Support (RDS) REF Team who brought the submission together and ensured adherence to our BU REF2021 Code of Practice.
Of course, contributions go much further than this. Each member of staff who has contributed to an impact case study, produced a research output, mentored a colleague, supervised a doctoral student, led a research project, and/or taken on additional duties to enable a colleague to undertake research, has contributed to the submission. In addition, numerous colleagues from Professional Services have been involved in checking and preparing data for the submission, sourcing outputs, and advising on guidance and content.
The REF results will be available in spring 2022. However, results aside, this submission provides for a moment of reflection and recognition for our collective achievements in growing research activity and excellence across the whole University, which will have positive benefits for years to come in terms of inspiring learning, advancing knowledge and enriching society.