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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 The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.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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Responses to the consultation informed the initial decisions taken on several high-level aspects of the framework (REF 2017/01).

We are undertaking further engagement before finalising arrangements in some areas, including:

  • the eligibility of institutions to participate in the exercise
  • submission of staff
  • output portability (see Annex A of HEFCE circular letter 33/2017).

Further decisions (REF 2017/04) were published in November 2017.

Read the consultation

See the proposals

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The consultation set out proposals on how to implement the next Research Excellence Framework, building on the REF 2014 and incorporating the principles identified in Lord Stern’s Independent Review of the REF.

It included proposals intended to reduce the burden associated with the REF process while maintaining and improving incentives for research excellence.

These include recommendations relating to:

  • the submission of staff and outputs
  • the approach to the assessment of impact
  • the introduction of an institutional level assessment.


We received 388 formal responses to the consultation. All responses were read, recorded and analysed. Read a summary of the responses (REF 2017/02), outlining the key issues raised.

Page last updated 11 September 2017