HEFCE has commissioned consultants, RAND Europe to undertake the comprehensive evaluation, which will look at the benefit and burden associated with impact submission preparation, recommend possible refinements of the process for future exercises, and identify good practice across the sector.
The evaluation will look at rewards and challenges relating to impact submissions among different types of higher education institution, and across the range of disciplines covered by the REF, by working with a sample group of around 18 institutions. Initial work will begin in May, and the main phase of work with institutions will start in December 2013.
This evaluation represents the first of a two-stage process to evaluate the impact element in the REF. The second stage will focus on the assessment of impact. The outcomes of the two-stage evaluation will be reported in 2015, and will inform policy development for the next REF exercise.