Nominations invited for Research Excellence Framework panel

17 Mar 2020

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It first took place in 2014 and the next exercise will be conducted in 2021. The REF invites nominations from associations or organisations with a clear interest in the conduct, quality, funding or wider benefits of publicly funded research.

The REF is a process of expert review, carried out by expert panels for each of the 34 subject-based units of assessment (UOAs), under the guidance of four main panels. Expert panels are made up of senior academics, international members, and research users. For each submission from an institute of Higher Education, three distinct elements are assessed: the quality of outputs (e.g. publications, performances, and exhibitions), their impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research.

Several of the panels are now looking to recruit additional assessors, covering specific technical areas either as ‘output assessors’ (looking at the science) or ‘impact assessors’ (looking at the claimed impact of the science). The areas of expertise being sought are listed here. Detail on the role of panel members is available at

The funding bodies are seeking nominations of candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, institution types and geographical region. We particularly welcome nominations of candidates from under-represented groups, including in particular people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. 

As of 27 March *In the context of the widespread effects of coronavirus, the four UK higher education bodies have confirmed that the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) is on hold until further notice. This is to enable institutions to prioritise activities in response to COVID-19 without concern about the effect on REF preparations. Planning for the adapted details of the framework is now underway, and a new submission deadline will be announced no later than a period of eight months before that new deadline.

Documents for download: