In partnership with the UK higher education funding bodies, we commissioned RAND Europe to conduct an evaluation of the impact element of REF 2014. The 'impact of research' is one of the three main elements for assessing research in the REF.
The evaluation was commissioned in two phases, to look in turn at the submission preparation for impact by higher education institutions (HEIs), and at the assessment process for impact by the REF panels. RAND Europe worked with a sample of HEIs in England, Scotland and Wales for the phase one study, and with the REF panels for phase two. Both phases employed mixed methods to gather evidence, including surveys, interviews and quantitative analysis.
The evaluation’s findings highlight a range of benefits for HEIs in preparing submissions for impact in the REF, and report the panels’ view that the process enabled them to assess impact in a fair, reliable and robust way; the reports set out some of the challenges of the process for institutions and panels, and identify areas for improvement.
The findings from the submission and assessment phases of the evaluation are provided in the first two documents below; the third is a detailed report on the approach and evidence for the submission phase of the evaluation.