Declaration of individual staff circumstances

This document is being sent to all Category A staff whose outputs are eligible for submission to REF2021 (see ‘Guidance on submissions’, paragraphs 117-122). As part of the College’s commitment to supporting equality and diversity in REF, the College has put in place safe and supportive structures for staff to declare information about any equality-related circumstances that may have affected their ability to research productively during the assessment period (1 January 2014 – 31 July 2020), and particularly their ability to produce research outputs at the same rate as staff not affected by circumstances. The purpose of collecting this information is threefold:

  • To enable staff who have not been able to produce a REF-eligible output during the assessment period to be entered into REF where they have;
         circumstances that have resulted in an overall period of 46 months or more absence from research during the assessment period, due to equality- related circumstances (see below)
         circumstances equivalent to 46 months or more absence from research due to equality-related circumstances
         two or more qualifying periods of family-related leave.
  • To recognise the effect that equality-related circumstances can have on an individual’s ability to research productively, and to adjust expectations in terms of expected workload / production of research outputs.
  • To establish whether there are any Units of Assessment where the proportion of declared circumstances is sufficiently high to warrant a request to the higher education funding bodies for a reduced required number of outputs to be submitted.

Applicable circumstances

  • Qualifying as an ECR (started career as an independent researcher on or after 1 August 2016)
  • Absence from work due to secondments or career breaks outside the HE sector
  • Qualifying periods of family-related leave
  • Junior clinical academics who have not gained a Certificate of Completion of training by 31 July 2020
  • Disability (including chronic conditions)
  • Ill heath, injury or mental health conditions
  • Constraints relating to family leave that fall outside of the standard allowances
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Gender reassignment

If your ability to research productively during the assessment period has been constrained due to one or more of the above circumstances, you are requested to complete this online form.
Further information can be found in paragraph 160 of the Guidance on Submissions (REF 2019/01). Completion and return of the form is voluntary, and individuals who do not choose to return it will not be put under any pressure to declare information if they do not wish to do so. This form is the only means by which the College will be gathering this information; we will not be consulting HR records, contract start dates, etc. You should therefore complete and return the form if any of the above circumstances apply and you are willing to provide the associated information.

Ensuring confidentiality

If you wish to disclose any circumstances, please submit the online form which will be sent to the Deputy Director, Organisational Development and Inclusion. You may also request a confidential ‘surgery’ with their Faculty HR representative to discuss any complex special circumstance.

This form is collected by the College for REF purposes only. Staff are in no way obliged to complete the form or disclose any circumstance if they do not wish to do so. By completing the form, you will be providing your written consent for the information to be considered, on a confidential and sensitive basis, by the College’s REF Equality Committee and the College central REF team.  No further use will be made of this form, and this will not be seen by anyone other than members of the REF Equality Committee and the College central REF team.

If the College decides to apply to the funding bodies for either form of reduction of outputs (removal of ‘minimum of one’ requirement or unit circumstances), we will need to provide UKRI with data that you have disclosed about your individual circumstances, to show that the criteria have been met for reducing the number of outputs. Please see the ‘Guidance on submissions’ document (paragraphs 151-201) for more detail about reductions in outputs and what information needs to be submitted.

Submitted data will be kept confidential to the REF team, the REF Equality Committee,  the Research England REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel, and main panel chairs. All these bodies are subject to confidentiality arrangements. The REF team will destroy the submitted data about individuals’ circumstances on completion of the assessment phase.

Changes in circumstances

The College recognises that staff circumstances may change between completion of the declaration form and the census date (31 July 2020). If this is the case, then staff should contact the Deputy Director, Organisational Development and Inclusion to provide the updated information.


Where to find the form

The online form to declare special circumstances is available herePlease use the online form in the first instance. If needed, a paper version of the online form is available for download via REF Individual circumstances form (WORD).