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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 The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.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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Background to the licence arrangements for the Research Excellence Framework impact (REF) case studies

HEIs agreed to the following when making submissions to the REF:

  • The information contained in REF submissions will be published by the UK HE funding bodies
  • Prior to its publication, submitted data held by the UK HE funding bodies may be made available to selected third parties for further research.
  • Where the institution holds the copyright to materials contained in the REF submission, the Institution declares it has authority to grant the UK HE funding bodies with individual, non-exclusive, perpetual and irrevocable licences to make use of, release and publish the materials.
  • The institution confirms that any such act carried out by any of the UK HE funding bodies will not infringe the copyright (or other IPR) or other right of any third party.
  • Any request to re-use the copyrighted material will be referred to the relevant copyright owner.

The REF team published REF submissions, including the Impact case studies and all associated images, in January 2015.

Licence arrangements for the REF Impact case studies database

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are the rights owners to their impact case studies. The licence terms below explain when you can re-use the impact case studies included within this database (

CC BY 4.0 licence permitted use

One hundred and twenty-three HEIs have agreed that their impact case studies contained within the REF impact case study database can be used under the CC BY 4.0 licence. Read the licence conditions that use is permitted under.

Read a more user-friendly version of the licence conditions. Please note this does not replace the full legal code.

The ‘Attribution’ element of the CC-BY licence requires users to give appropriate credit, provide a link to the licence, and indicate if changes are made. This means that HEIs will be appropriately credited where case studies are used. This may be done in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses the user or the use of material.

Case studies unavailable under the CC BY 4.0 licence

Thirty-one HEIs were not in a position to agree to their impact studies being made available under a CC BY 4.0 licence on the REF impact case study database. A list of HEIs where this applies is available below. In such cases, the following terms apply:

Copies for research

Although these impact case studies are not licensed under CC BY 4.0, researchers can still make copies of any copyright material under fair dealing provisions, for example to conduct text and data mining. They can do this without having to obtain additional permission to make these copies from the rights holder, noting that making multiple copies such as putting the case study on a shared drive, computer network, intranet or website is not usually permitted under fair dealing provisions. Researchers are only permitted to make copies within the fair dealing provisions for non-commercial research or where otherwise permitted by law. If in doubt, you should seek clarification and permission from the relevant rights holder (the HEI that submitted the case study in the first instance) including in instances where you would like to re-use the impact case studies in publications and for other purposes.

Other users

Specific fair dealing provisions are also available for others, including students. Read more information about fair dealing provisions.

Changes to published impact case studies

It is our aim that, as far as possible, the content of the REF impact case study database will replicate the REF submissions data (including containing images). However, there are circumstances where a case study will be accessible via the REF submissions data only.

Requests for case studies to be further redacted or removed will be considered for the main REF website, although we cannot guarantee they will be accepted. Please be aware that they have now been available since January 2015.

We cannot change or replace impact cases studies within the database. Requests for case studies to be removed from the database will be considered, although we cannot guarantee they will be accepted.

The case studies for the following HEIs cannot be used under the CC BY 4.0 licence

Birmingham City University
Bishop Grosseteste University
Cardiff University
Harper Adams University
Imperial College London
Newcastle University
Norwich University of the Arts
Queen Mary University of London
Queen's University of Belfast
Rose Bruford College
St Mary's University College (Belfast)
The Institute of Cancer Research
The London School of Economics and Political Science
The Robert Gordon University1
The Royal Academy of Music
The School of Oriental and African Studies
The University of Bolton
The University of East Anglia
The University of Southampton
The University of Surrey
The University of York
University of Cambridge
University of Central Lancashire
University of Durham
University of Glasgow2 
University of the Arts, London
University of Ulster

1. This includes impact case studies in their Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy joint submission with University of the Highlands and Islands

2. This includes impact case studies in their Chemistry joint submission with University of Strathclyde

Contact us

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Page last updated 4 December 2015