Research Excellence Framework 2028

In June 2023, the four UK higher education funding bodies published key decisions on the high-level design of the next research assessment exercise. The EPC’s Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Committee responded to the Jisc consultation which informed these decisions; the initial consultation and EPC response are available here.

Following the publication of these initial decisions, further work is required to develop the more detailed guidance and criteria. This includes a further short, targeted policy consultation with the HE sector and other relevant stakeholders. The EPC proposes a representative consultation with members of the EPC Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Committee. The deadline for responses is 6th October 2023.

In addition, there will be:

  • A discrete consultation on the REF 2028 open access policy launched later in 2023
  • Commissioned work on content and indicators for the structured explanatory statements and the revised people, culture and environment element
  • Discussions with REF assessment and advisory panels when appointed
  • A webinar (or webinars) in September focusing on the key areas for further consultation. Details on dates and how to register coming soon.

Consultation areas

Volume measure:

At this stage, the funding bodies are seeking further views on:

  • What practical challenges may institutions face in implementing these changes?
  • How might the funding bodies mitigate against these challenges?
  • What would be the impact of these changes on individual researchers and particularly those with protected characteristics?

Submission of outputs:

At this stage, the funding bodies are seeking further views on:

  • What impact would these changes have on individual researchers and particularly those with protected characteristics?
  • What impact would these changes have on institutions in preparing output submissions?
  • What would be appropriate indicators of a demonstrable and substantive link to the submitting institution?
  • What may be the unintended consequences of allowing the submission of outputs produced by those on non-academic or teaching-only contracts?
  • Should outputs sole-authored by postgraduate research students be eligible for submission? If so, should this include PhD theses?
  • Do the proposed arrangements for co-authored outputs strike the right balance between supporting collaboration and ensuring that assessment focuses on the work of the unit?
  • Are there any further considerations around co-authored outputs that need be taken into account?

Engagement and impact:

At this stage, the funding bodies are seeking further views on:

  • What will be the impact of reducing the minimum number to one?
  • What will be the impact of revising the thresholds between case study requirements?
  • To what extent do you support weighting the impact statement on a sliding scale in proportion to the number of case studies submitted?

Unit of Assessment structure and panel appointments:

The funding bodies invite views from institutions and disciplinary communities on any disciplinary developments since REF 2021 that would require changes to be made to the UOA structure.

Impact of Covid 19:

  • What is your view on the proposed measures to take into account the impact of the Covid pandemic?
  • What other measures should the funding bodies consider to take into account the impact of the Covid pandemic?
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