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The Research Excellence Framework (REF) (Note 1) is conducted on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies (Note 2). These bodies are committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity in research careers, and strongly encourage institutions to have fair and transparent processes to support the work of all their researchers.

The Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) has been established to advise the funding bodies, the REF team and the REF panels on developing and implementing measures to promote equality and diversity in the next REF. The EDAP will initially support the development of criteria that appropriately recognise equality and diversity considerations in all elements of submissions to the next REF. The exact nature of the EDAP’s role in the submissions and assessment phase of the next REF will be decided in summer 2017, following the current sector-wide consultation on the implementation of the next REF (Note 3).

Professor Dianne Berry OBE, Dean of Postgraduate Research Studies at Reading University, has extensive relevant experience. She was previously chair of the Equality and Diversity Advisory Group and then the EDAP for REF2014. For RAE2008, she was Chair of the panel for Unit of Assessment 44: Psychology. At Reading, she has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Dean of Social Sciences, and Head of the School of Psychology. Dianne is also chair of Vitae’s External Advisory Board and has chaired its ‘Every Researcher Counts’ Advisory Group.

Dr Kim Hackett, REF manager, said:

‘We are delighted that Dianne has agreed to chair the REF EDAP for the second time. Dianne has a wealth of knowledge, experience and respect in the sector and we look forward to working with her to ensure equality and diversity considerations are embedded throughout the next exercise.'

Professor Dianne Berry said:

‘I am proud and excited to be chairing EDAP again. There is still much to be done in this important area. We need to ensure that equality and diversity considerations are taken fully into account in all stages of REF planning, and that we build on the many advances made in REF2014.’ 

Notes

1. The REF is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The most recent exercise concluded in 2014. The REF is a peer review assessment process involving senior UK academics, users of research from organisations beyond higher education and international advisers. The results of the REF are used to drive the UK higher education funding bodies’ annual distribution of research funding to UK universities.

2. The four UK funding bodies are: the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DEL).

3. See consultation proposals at www.hefce.ac.uk/rsrch/refconsultation/.

4. Read a post on 'Increasing the representativeness of REF panel membership' on the HEFCE blog.

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