The statement recognises the range of benefits that come from excellent research and from knowledge exchange and states a commitment to continue working together to build on that excellence.
For its part, HEFCE will explicitly recognise the impact made by excellent research through the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), which is managed on behalf of the four UK funding bodies by a team based in HEFCE (note 1).
This will allow the wealth of impacts made through academic research for the benefit of the economy and society more broadly to be fully assessed, described and rewarded for the first time.
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- The assessment of impact in the REF will be based on expert review of case studies. Impact may include any social, economic or cultural impact or benefit beyond academia that has taken place during the assessment period, and was underpinned by excellent research produced by the university. Details of the REF framework and guidance to institutions on preparing their submissions were published on 14 July.
- Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils. They invest annually around £3 billion in research. Their focus is on excellence with impact. They nurture the highest quality research, as judged by international peer review providing the UK with a competitive advantage. Global research requires we sustain a diversity of funding approaches, fostering international collaborations, and providing access to the best facilities and infrastructure, and locating skilled researchers in stimulating environments. RCUK research achieves impact – the demonstrable contribution to society and the economy made by knowledge and skilled people. To deliver impact, researchers and businesses need to engage and collaborate with the public, business, Government and charitable organisations.
The seven UK Research Councils are:
- Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
- Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
- Universities UK (UUK) is the representative body for the UK's universities. Founded in 1918, its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK, providing high-quality leadership and support to its members to promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. With 133 members and offices in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh, it promotes the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally.