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HEFCE, in partnership with the other UK higher education funding bodies, has commissioned RAND Europe to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of impact in the REF. This will look at the strengths and weaknesses of the assessment process for impact, and consider any implications for how impact is assessed in future exercises.

The evaluation will look at the assessment process across the REF subject panels. Work has now commenced and is expected to complete in spring 2015.

This evaluation represents the second part of a two-stage process evaluating the impact element in the REF. The first stage evaluated the process of preparing submissions at institutions, and its findings will be incorporated into the second-stage evaluation. The outcomes from both parts of the evaluation will be reported in 2015, and will inform policy development for the next REF exercise.


1. We recently announced the start of a separate, parallel project focusing on the impact case studies submitted for REF. That project analyses the case studies themselves, while for the second half of this two-stage project, RAND will be evaluating the process of assessment for impact. The projects are complementary, and we expect the two teams to liaise during their work.

2. RAND Europe is a not-for-profit public policy research organisation.