Making science work for development

Developing the next Research Excellence Framework

7 March

The conference follows the independent review of the REF which called for a broadening of the definition of impact, and for all active research staff in an institution to be submitted as part of the REF process, ending the portability of research outputs if an academic changes institution.

Delegates will discuss these possible changes as well as the consultation’s proposed measures designed to increase interdisciplinary research and to encourage open data - as well as greater use of metrics to inform assessment decisions and changes to the weighting of impact and research environment profiles.

Sessions in the agenda will be opportunities for discussion on:

  • The consultation proposals and responses so far;
  • Revising the structures of REF, including:
    • Proposals to maintain the same Units of Assessment as REF 2014 but with potential special arrangements for areas of concern highlighted previously such as film and media and criminology;
    • Whether the proposals on nominating assessment panel members meet the challenges set out in the Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel’s January 2015 report;
    • What role metrics should play in aiding assessment; and
    • Encouraging interdisciplinary research through the REF, including the call for Interdisciplinary Research Champions on each assessment panel.
  • Changes to who institutions should submit for assessment, including:
    • Expanding REF to cover all research-active staff and how this should be defined;
    • The likely impact - including on early career researchers - of the proposal to end portability of research outputs in a bid to tackle concerns around a ‘transfer market’ for academics;
  • The next steps for Impact and the Research Environment, including:
    • The proposed introduction of new institution-level assessments;
    • Whether to maintain the 20% weighting for Impact as the consultation proposes or to extend it to 25% as recommended by the Witty Review of Universities and Growth;
    • The proposals to broadening the definition of impact to ‘public engagement and understanding, impact on cultural life, academic impact outside the field, and on teaching’; and
    • How the REF could encourage greater data sharing and the widespread adoption of open data principles across the UK research base.

 The draft agenda is regularly updated - a version is available to download here.The seminar is organised on the basis of strict impartiality by the Westminster Higher Education Forum.