Delay to the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise

Following community consultation on the REF initial decisions published in the summer of 2023, the four UK higher education funding bodies have announced an extension to the timing of the next REF exercise.

The next REF will now be REF2029, with results to be published in December 2029.

It is likely that submission will now be autumn 2028. The REF team have advised that an updated timeline will be published “as soon as possible”.

The extension to the timeline is in recognition of the complexities for Higher Education Institutions in:

  • the preparation for using HESA data to determine REF volume measures,
  • fully breaking the link between individual staff and institutional submissions,
  • the reworking of institutional Codes of Practice

As well as the change to the timing for the REF, a number of other updates have been announced, including:

  • The Units of Assessment structure used in REF2021 will remain unchanged.
  • Institutions may submit any output where there is a “demonstrable and substantive link to the submitting institution within the REF period.”
  • Outputs sole-authored by PGR students will not be eligible for submission, nor will those produced by staff on teaching-only contracts.
  • The minimum number of impact case studies that an institution can submit per disciplinary submission will be reduced to one, and there will be a removal of the 2* quality threshold for research that underpins impact case studies.

More detail on the initial decisions next steps can be found at