The next Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise will be conducted in 2019 and 2020. The submission is due in November 2020 and the results will be published in 2021.

The REF exercise will:

  • Inform the selective allocation of the four Higher Education (HE) funding bodies grant for research, with effect from 2022-23
  • Provide accountability for public investment in research and produce evidence of the impact and benefits arising from this investment
  • Provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks for each discipline, for use within the HE sector and for public information.

Key changes from REF 2014

Key changes from REF 2014 include:

  • REF 2021 will not be a selective exercise; every eligible member of staff must be included
  • The weightings of the three elements of REF have been revised to: outputs - 60%; impact - 25%; environment - 15%
  • Every eligible member of staff must be attributed between one and five outputs. The total number of outputs must equal 2.5 times the total FTE of the unit's submitted staff.

Units of Assessment (UoAs)

In REF 2021, there are 34 Units of Assessment organised in four main panels. The UoAs the College is submitting to are in italics below.

Main panel A

1. Clinical Medicine
2. Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care
3. Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy
4. Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience
5. Biological Sciences
6. Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science

Main panel B

7. Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences
8. Chemistry
9. Physics
10. Mathematical Sciences
11. Computer Science and Informatics
12. Engineering

Main panel C

13. Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
14. Geography and Environmental Studies
15. Archaeology
16. Economics and Econometrics
17. Business and Management Studies
18. Law
19. Politics and International Studies
20. Social Work and Social Policy
21. Sociology
22. Anthropology and Development Studies
23. Education
24. Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism

Main panel D

25. Area Studies
26. Modern Languages and Linguistics
27. English Language and Literature
28. History
29. Classics
30. Philosophy
31. Theology and Religious Studies
32. Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory
33. Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies
34. Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management