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A key recommendation of the Stern review was the introduction of an institutional-level (IL) submission for the environment within which HEIs support the delivery and sustainability of their research. This recommendation aimed to reduce duplication across unit-level submissions, enable the accurate representation of aspects of an institution’s environment that reflect institutional-level activity, and capture institution-wide strategic objectives and cross-cutting structures and initiatives.

Following consultation in 2017, the funding bodies set out their decision to pilot the assessment of the IL environment statement alongside REF 2021 in order to advise on the inclusion (or not) of IL environment submissions in future REF exercises. The Institutional Level Environment Pilot Panel (ILEPP) has been established to assess institutional-level environment statements in order to inform and contextualise their assessment of the unit-level environment statements and to advise the REF team and the UK higher education funding bodies on the feasibility of including institutional-level environment assessment in future assessment exercises. The IL submission scores will not form part of the formal assessment profiles for each institution in REF 2021. See further information on the roles and membership of the Institutional-Level Environment Pilot Panel (ILEPP).