Campaign welcomes initial guidelines for REF2021

September 1, 2017

The Campaign for Social Science has today issued the following statement welcoming HEFCE’s publication of the initial guidelines for REF2021:

“More mist has now cleared on the road to REF2021. We welcome HEFCE’s publication today of the initial guidelines for the next assessment. The process throughout has been transparent and consultative, and it’s good to see that HEFCE has listened and acted on the advice of the research community.

“The big headline from today’s announcement is a shift in the weighting for impact from 20% to 25% of the exercise. Bringing impact into the last REF is widely seen as a successful experiment that has generated a 7000-strong body of case studies, and encouraged institutions and individuals to look outwards. Given the economic, social and environmental pressures facing the UK and the world – and the dislocation between universities and some in our communities that we saw reflected in the Brexit vote – we welcome anything that incentivizes us to engage more deeply with society, and use the public’s investment in research to make a positive difference. Broadening and clarifying the ways impact is defined, and relates to public engagement, is also a positive step.

“Some details remain to be worked out, and I hope HEFCE will now move as swiftly as due process and robust evidence-gathering allow to nail down these remaining issues. Universities want to be able to move forward with confidence to support and deliver an effective exercise. So we need to get the REF right, but we mustn’t allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good.”

James Wilsdon, Chair, Campaign for Social Science and Professor of Research Policy, University of Sheffield

Read previous Academy and Campaign work on REF