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Lord Stern recognised ‘that a substantial reinvention of the REF would increase uncertainty, workload and burden,’ and has set out clear principles and directions for reform, building on the strengths of previous research assessment. These include recommendations relating to:

  • the inclusion of all research-active staff
  • non-portability of outputs
  • the approach to research impact
  • information required to assess the research environment
  • the introduction of an institutional-level assessment of impact and environment.

HEFCE will now work with the other three UK higher education funding bodies to develop proposals on how to implement Lord Stern’s recommendations in the next REF.

We expect to launch a consultation with the sector on these proposals in November 2016. Further engagement with the sector, including consultation events, will be undertaken during the consultation period.

In light of the forthcoming REF consultation and current burden on the sector, HEFCE no longer intends to consult on the quality-related research funding methodology at this time.


1. Read the letter from Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation to Lord Stern following publication of the Independent Review of the REF