Research Excellence Framework 2014
The quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs) has been assessed periodically under the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), with the results of the last assessment released in 2008. UK HEIs receive some of their funding from the funding councils by formula based on the results of the RAE. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) will replace the RAE for the next assessment. REF will differ from RAE in several ways, in particular the introduction of the assessment of the impact of research on non-academic users.
The census period for the REF is 2008 to 2013 and the quality of research will be assessed within 36 Units of Assessment (UoA’s) a reduction from the 2008 RAE. Sub panels for each UoA, will following guidance from the four main panels use three main criteria to assess the submissions to them, each with their own weighting:
- The quality of research outputs (65%)
- The wider impact of research (20%)
- The vitality of the research environment (15%)
Liverpool Hope University is fully engaged with this process and has set internal targets to ensure we maximise our return. The University has established a REF Steering Group (REFSG) under the Chairmanship of Professor Atulya Nagar. The Terms of Reference for REFSG are:
- Keeping the University fully informed on the way in which the REF will operate across the various disciplines. This will include regular updates to the senior academic leaders across the University (Rectorate, Deans and Heads of Department).
- Deciding which Units of Assessment (UoAs) will be submitted to the REF based on quantitative data (research income, outputs and case studies) and qualitative data (internal and external peer review on the quality of the UoA).
- Planning submissions: this will not simply be a matter of looking at what is happening and making the most of what is already in place or is likely to be in place in REF census point. The group will be much more pro-active. It will, for example, advise on strategy (recruitment of PhD students, creation of institutional and Faculty research structures, actively seek out staff who need encouragement and/or support to complete work in time for submission and advise on areas where resources should be targeted. The mechanism for acting upon this advice is two-fold: first the REFSG will inform decisions at Research Committee; second the REFSG will inform decisions at Faculty Research Committees. The individual UoA coordinators will be responsible for devolving information at UoA level and for informing the REFSG of preparations for the unit.
- Recommending the appointment of external UoA advisors. These persons should be research leaders at other UK Universities who have significant experience of the RAE/REF process.
- Reading and approving any documentation that is prepared as part of the REF process e.g. the Equality and Diversity Code of Practice, Equality Impact Assessments and, institutional REF narrative.
Membership of the REFSG
- The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Academic Development)
- The Chair of the University’s Research Committee
- Chairs of Faculty Research Commitees
- Unit of Assessment coordinators
- HR Department’ Equality and Diversity Adviser
- A representative of the University’s Library and Learning Spaces
- A representative of the University’s Finance Department
- A representative of the University’s IT Services
This section will be updated regularly with current documentation and links to new information from the REFSG and from HEFCE that will support Departments with the preparation of their submissions.
More on REF
To find out more about the Research Excellence Framework, visit the REF website.