The UK higher education funding bodies have made the final decisions on the operation of the next Research Excellence Framework process, REF2021. The conclusions, which follow a year of consultation, confirm the arrangements for returning research staff and outputs to the exercise.
The publication ‘Decisions on staff and outputs’, together with the ‘Initial decisions on the Research Excellence Framework 2021’ published in September 2017, sets out the broad framework for REF 2021 following the independent review of the REF in 2016, led by Lord Stern.
In response to this publication, Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said:
“I am pleased that the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) have listened to the sector and made changes to the REF which both support the findings of the Stern review and recognise the concerns of the sector around portability of outputs and submission of all staff.
“In particular, the change to Category C staff should allow research-active NHS staff working within universities to be more fully recognised by REF2021. This change has the potential to be a very important step to help incentivise academia-NHS collaboration, a move that will help make sure patients benefit from research in the future.
“We look forward to seeing further guidance on exactly how REF2021 will capture NHS-academia collaboration. I hope too that panel guidance will ensure that the next REF can be a driver for responsible research practices in Universities.”