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Research Excellence Framework (REF) and equality

ECU’s work on the REF 2021

The equality provisions of REF 2021 will be published by the UK higher education funding bodies in the Guidance on Submissions. The draft Guidance on Submissions is due to be published in Summer/Autumn 2018.

Ellen Pugh, Policy Programme Manager at Equality Challenge Unit, is a member of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) which has been established to advise the UK higher education funding bodies, the REF team and the REF panels on the implementation of equality measures in the REF 2021.

ECU responded to a number of consultations to inform the development of REF 2021:

For further information on REF 2021 visit the UK funding bodies REF 2021 website

ECU’s work on the REF 2014

ECU was a member of the Equality and Diversity Advisory Group for REF 2014 and an observer on EDAP. ECU was also 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 included a pack of materials for delivering equality and diversity training to staff and committees responsible for selecting staff for submission to the REF:

Equality and diversity training materials: handbook for trainers

Equality impact assessments

Complex circumstances examples

ECU’s work on REF 2008 / Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008

RAE 2008 was replaced with the REF to be completed in 2014.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) commissioned ECU to conduct research into the impact of the process to promote equality and diversity in RAE 2008. The report focuses on the impact of the exercise on women, black and minority ethnic staff, disabled staff, and early-career researchers.

The report can be read alongside the UK higher education funding bodies own research on the selection of staff for inclusion in RAE 2008.

Good practice examples were published alongside the report but have since been replaced by materials produced for the REF 2014.

ECU was also commissioned to write an equality briefing for RAE panel chairs, members and secretaries. It provided an overview of the equality issues and legal framework at the time and has now been archived.