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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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The deadline to apply for the position of REF2021 Main Panel Chair has now closed.

The REF is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK universities and higher education colleges. The results of the REF drive the allocation of public funding for research. This major exercise is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies. It was first conducted in 2014, replacing the Research Assessment Exercise.

Following an independent review of the 2014 REF that was undertaken in 2016, the funding bodies are developing the framework for the second REF, scheduled for 2021. Through a process of peer review, discipline-based panels will assess

  • the quality of research outputs
  • the impact of research beyond academia
  • the research environment.

Following a consultation held between December 2016 and March 2017, initial decisions on the second REF are due to be taken in summer 2017.

Four main panels will provide leadership and guidance to the sub-panels that will undertake the assessment. In the first instance, as chairs designate, the appointees will advise the funding bodies on the initial decisions, and on the further planning and development of the framework, before taking up their roles as Main Panel Chairs later in the year. The main panels will be responsible for assuring the effective conduct of the assessment process. The main panels will cover the following broad areas:

  • Main Panel A: Medicine, health and life sciences
  • Main Panel B: Physical sciences, engineering and mathematics
  • Main Panel C: Social sciences
  • Main Panel D: Arts and humanities

We are interested in further applications for REF2021 Main Panel Chair of C (Social Science) and are working with the Academy of Social Sciences to increase the pool of applicants. The deadline for applications for the role of Chair to REF2021 Main Panel C has been extended to noon on Wednesday 24 May 2017.

Applications are invited from people with successful senior-level experience in the leadership, commissioning or application of research. We are seeking applicants that will command the confidence of key stakeholders, and will have senior-level experience in research quality assessment and in chairing and leading groups to achieve consensus, along with additional qualities detailed in the further particulars.


Full details of the role and information on how to apply are given in the attachment.

Deadline for applications for REF2021 Main Panel Chair for A, B and D: closed

Deadline for applications for REF2021 Main Panel Chair for C: noon on Thursday 27 April 2017