Reductions for staff circumstances

1. Given the reduced output requirement for 2021, the tariffs for the defined reductions differ from  those set in REF 2014.This is to ensure that a broadly equivalent reduction is given in the context of the submitted output pool, and to  ensure that panels receive a sufficient selection of research outputs from each submitted unit upon which to base judgements about the quality of that unit’s outputs.

Early career researchers

2. ECRs are defined in the Guidance on submissions (paragraph 148). Table L1 sets out the permitted reduction in outputs without penalty in the assessment that HEIs may request for ECRs who meet this definition.

Table L1: Early career researchers - permitted reduction in outputs

Date at which the individual first met the REF definition of an ECR:  Output pool may be reduced by up to:
On or before 31 July 2016 0
Between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017 inclusive 0.5 
Between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018 inclusive
On or after 1 August 2018 1.5
Summary of the table's contents

Absence from work due to secondments or career breaks

3. Table L2 sets out the permitted reduction in outputs without penalty in the assessment that HEIs may request for absence from work due to secondments or career breaks outside of the HE sector, and in which the individual did not undertake academic research.

Table L2: Secondments or career breaks - permitted reduction in outpus 

Total months absent between 1 January 2014 and 31 July 2020 due to a staff
member’s secondment or career break:

Output pool may be reduced by up to:
Fewer than 12 calendar months 0
At least 12 calendar months but less than 28 0.5 
At least 28 calendar months but less than 46
46 calendar months or more 1.5
Summary of the table's contents

4. The allowances in Table L2 are based on the length of the individual’s absence or time away from working in  HE. They are defined in terms of  total months absent from work.

5. As part-time working is taken account of within the calculation for the overall number of outputs required for the unit (which is determined by multiplying the unit’s FTE by  2.5), reduction requests on the basis of part-time working hours should only be made exceptionally. For example, where the FTE of a staff member late in the assessment period does not reflect their average FTE over the  period as a whole.

Qualifying periods of family-related leave

6. The total output pool maybe reduced by 0.5 for each discrete period of:

    a. Statutory maternity leave or statutory adoption leave taken substantially during the period 1 January 2014 to 31 July 2020, regardless of the length of the leave.
    b. Additional paternity or adoption leave1, or shared parental leave2 lasting for four months or more, taken substantially during the period 1 January 2014 to 31 July  2020.

7. This approach to reductions for qualifying periods of family-related leave is based on the funding bodies’ considered judgement following consultation in the previous REF exercise that the  impact  of such a period of  leave and the arrival of a new child into a family is generally sufficiently disruptive of an individual’s research work to justify the specified reduction.

8. While the above reduction of  outputs due to additional paternity or adoption leave is subject to a minimum period of four months, shorter periods of such leave could be taken into account as follows:

    a. By applying a reduction in outputs where there are additional circumstances, for example, where the period of leave had an impact in combination with other factors such as ongoing childcare responsibilities.
    b. By combining the number of  months for  shorter periods of such leave in combination with other circumstances, according to Table L2.

9. Any period of maternity, adoption, paternity or  shared parental leave that qualifies for  the reduction of an output under the provisions in paragraph 6 above may in individual  cases be associated with prolonged constraints on work that justify more than the defined reduction set out. In such cases, the circumstances should be explained in the request.

Combining circumstances

10. Where individuals have had a combination of circumstances that have a defined reduction in outputs, these may be accumulated up  to a  maximum reduction of  1.5 outputs. For each circumstance, the relevant reduction should be applied and added together to calculate the total maximum reduction.

11. Where Table L1 is combined with Table L2, the period of time since 1 January2014 up until the individual met the definition of an  ECR should be calculated in months, and Table L2 should be applied.

12. When combining circumstances, only one circumstance should be taken into account for any period of time during which they took place simultaneously.

13. Where an individual has a combination of circumstances with a defined reduction in outputs and additional circumstances that require a judgement, the institution should explain this in the reduction request so that a single judgement can be made about the appropriate reduction in outputs, taking into account all the circumstances. The circumstances with a defined reduction in outputs to be requested should be calculated  according to the guidance above (paragraphs 2 to 10).

Other circumstances that apply in UOAs 1 - 6

14. In UOAs 1–6, the number of outputs may be reduced by up to one, without penalty in the assessment, for Category A submitted staff who are junior clinical academics. These are defined as clinically qualified academics who are still completing their clinical training in medicine or dentistry and have not gained a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) or its equivalent prior to 31 July 2020.

15. This allowance is made on the basis that the staff concerned are normally significantly constrained in the  time they have available to  undertake research during the assessment period. Where the individual meets the criteria in paragraph 14, and has had significant additional circumstances– for any  of the other reasons set out in the  ‘Guidance on  submissions’ in paragraph– the institution can make a case for  further reductions in the  unit reduction request.

Circumstances requiring a judgment about reductions

16. Where staff have had other circumstances during the period including in combination with any  circumstances with  a defined reduction in outputs– the institution will need to make a   judgement about the effect of the circumstances in terms of the equivalent period of  time  absent, apply the reductions as set out in Table L2 by analogy, and  provide a brief rationale for this judgement.

1: 'Additional paternity or adoption leave’ refers to leave of up to 26 weeks which is taken to care for a child where the person’s spouse, partner or civil partner was entitled to statutory maternity leave or statutory adoption leave, and has since returned to work. The term ‘additional paternity leave’ is often used to describe this type of leave although it may be taken by parents of either gender. For the purposes of the REF, we refer to this leave as ‘additional paternity or adoption leave’.
2: ‘Shared parental leave’ refers to leave of up to 50 weeks which can be shared by parents having a baby or adopting a child. This can be taken in blocks, or all in one go.