The key purposes of the REF are:
- to inform the selective allocation of funding for research
- to provide accountability for public investment in research and produce evidence of the benefits of this investment
- to provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks, for use in the higher education sector and for public information.
This major exercise is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies (the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland).
The development of the next exercise is now well underway:
- A consultation on the implementation of the next REF was undertaken in early 2017.
- Initial decisions resulting from the consultation were published in September 2017. Further decisions, relating to staff and outputs, were published in November 2017.
- An Interdisciplinary Research Advisory Panel (IDAP) has been appointed.
- An Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) has been appointed.
- The four main REF panel chairs have been appointed.
Main Panel A: Medicine, health and life sciences
Professor John Iredale, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health), University of Bristol
Main Panel B: Physical sciences, engineering and mathematics
Professor David Price, Vice-Provost (Research), University College London
Main Panel C: Social sciences
Professor Jane Millar OBE, Professor of Social Policy, University of Bath
Main Panel D: Arts and humanities
Professor Dinah Birch CBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact, University of Liverpool
Download further information on the four REF main panel chairs: