Research Excellence Framework and equality
Supporting institutions, REF assessment units, panels and subpanels to understand their obligations to equality and ensure the widest possible range of submissions
For: Research managers; other staff with responsibility for the REF; equality and diversity practitioners; HR practitioners
When: January 2011 – October 2014
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). The REF replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), last completed in 2008.
ECU was commissioned to analyse the impact of the process to promote equality and diversity in the RAE 2008. Recommendations from the research have been taken into consideration by the REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Group of which ECU was a member and have consequently helped to shape framework and guidance for the REF 2014.
The REF team have set up an Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) to advise the REF team, the REF panels and the funding bodies on the implementation of equality measures throughout the submission and assessment phases of the REF. ECU has observer status on the EDAP.
REF 2014 materials
ECU has been commissioned by the four UK funding councils to develop materials for panels, subpanels and units of assessment to support them in meeting the equality requirements of the REF 2014 Assessment Framework and Guidance on Submissions. This includes a pack of materials for delivering equality and diversity training to staff and committees responsible for selecting staff for submission to the REF.
The REF team published the Panel criteria and working methods for panels and subpanels on 30 January 2012. The final criteria were informed by a consultation between July and October 2011.
The document outlines the process of considering individual staff circumstances, and the agreed reduction in output tariffs. It also gives information on complex circumstances which could include a combination of clearly defined circumstances, or additional individual circumstances that may have an impact on research outputs.
ECU and the REF team have prepared some worked examples of complex circumstances. These aim to give those making decisions around complex circumstances a guide to how calculations can be made and the appropriate reduction in outputs for a range of complex circumstances:
Note: The complex circumstances case study examples were updated in May 2013. Example 12 has been revised to clarify how the calculation of outputs should be carried out.