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REF: University of Leeds consultation response

The University has submitted its response to the first consultation to the proposals for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF).

In December 2016, HEFCE set out its proposals for the second Research Excellence Framework (REF) for the assessment of research in UK higher education institutions. 

The proposals built on the first REF conducted in 2014 and to incorporated the principles identified in Lord Stern’s Independent Review of the REF.

In accordance with the deadline, the University submitted its response to the proposals in March 2017. Commenting on the overall approach, the University submission stated:

“We support the proposal to maintain an overall continuity of approach with REF2014. By maintaining the structure of the exercise (with outputs, impact and environment assessed by peer review) HEIs will be able to use the experience of the REF2014 submissions to increase efficiency of the process.

"This is critical to achieving one of the central tenets of the Stern Review, the reduction of burden associated with the REF. 

“We note that many of the proposals put forward in the consultation document represent major deviations from the approaches used within REF2014. 

“Making such a large number of significant changes at once will undoubtedly result in an increased burden within HEIs to ensure they understand the changes and implement processes and mechanisms to accommodate them. 

“This increased burden is likely to be exacerbated by the fact that any changes will be introduced late in the current REF cycle. 

“At a time of much change within the sector, it would be highly beneficial to maintain a continuity of approach as much as possible. 

“We suggest that changes are prioritised, allowing them to be gradually introduced within the current and subsequent REF cycle.”

Further details of the University’s response, including comments on unit of assessment structure, expert panels, staff and institutional level assessment, can be found here

HEFCE’s initial response is now online, and further consultation on the remaining aspects of the framework will be carried out in the autumn. 

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