The UK’s exercise for assessing research excellence in universities, the Research Excellence Framework (REF), recommences on 31 July 2020. This follows a four-month pause due to COVID-19. The recommencement is accompanied by new guidance, describing revisions to the exercise made in view of the altered timetable and to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on universities’ submissions.
This document describes the revisions to the timetable for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 and the changes and additions made to the guidance to take account of the effects of COVID-19. The revised deadline for submissions is midday, 31 March 2021.
On 31 July 2020, the REF exercise was formally restarted after being paused in March 2020 due to COVID-19. In light of the ongoing disruption the funding bodies expect due to COVID-19, this document provides advice on contingency planning that HEIs may wish to implement in order to minimise further disruption to the preparation of REF submissions, making REF submissions in the submission system, and responding to audit queries during the assessment phase.