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Criteria phase

The criteria phase of the REF took place in 2018, involving the development of the detailed guidance and criteria for REF 2021.

In September 2017, responding to consultation feedback, the funding bodies set out their decision that the development of the criteria should involve wider input than the main panels alone. The following members have been appointed for 2018:

  • Additional main panel members, including members with expertise in international, interdisciplinary, or the wider use and benefits of research.
  • Sufficient sub-panel members to ensure each sub-panel has appropriate expertise for setting the criteria (including of interdisciplinary research and the wider use of research). This is a smaller group of members than the volume required to undertake the assessment, meaning that further full sub-panel members (and impact and output assessors) will join the sub-panels for the assessment phase.

Further members are still to be appointed by the four funding bodies to a small number of panels. An updated membership list will be published when the process is complete, and updates will be made periodically thereafter to reflect any changes in membership details.

Assessment phase

The assessment phase of the REF will commence in late 2020 and continue throughout 2021, and will involve the full assessment of submissions made by institutions.

Following advice from main and sub-panel chairs, where suitable nominations were received the funding bodies have appointed a proportion of the members who will join the sub-panels for the assessment phase. These members will take up their panel roles in 2020.  The proportion appointed varies across the sub-panels depending on the specific and known expertise requirements of each unit of assessment.

Further panel appointments

Further appointments to the panels will be made later in the exercise to ensure the sub-panels have an appropriate breadth of expertise and volume of panel members necessary for the assessment phase.

A survey of institutions’ submission intentions will be carried out in 2019, which will inform the further panel membership appointments, including for both further full sub-panel members as well as output and impact assessors.

In general we expect that candidates nominated to be sub-panel members at this stage, but not appointed in 2018, would also be considered as potential sub-panel members or assessors at the next round of appointments. During 2020 we will also invite a further round of nominations for sub-panel members and assessors, including those with expertise in the use or benefits of research across the private, public and third sectors.

Recruitment process

All REF panel chairs and members are appointed by the four UK funding bodies. The chairs of the REF main and sub-panels were appointed following an open application process. Members of the REF panels are appointed following a nominations process. Details of this process are set out in the Roles and recruitment of the expert panels.