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This page contains useful information and links regarding the Research Excellence Framework (REF) which will take place in 2021 based on submissions being made by the deadline of 27 November 2020.

What the REF means to me

Main Sources of Information

REF2021 Home

University REF Pages

Information Collection

The majority of the information required from individual researchers will be collected using the University's research information system, Symplectic Elements. Although guidance will be provided for any specific actions you will be asked to take, those of you less familiar with this system may find it helpful to review the guidance available in the Research Information Moodle site.


As the University prepares for REF, researchers and those supporting research across the Collegiate University will be asked to offer their thoughts and opinions on the approaches taken.  Details of those consultation exercises will be posted here.

REF2021 Consultation on Code of Practice
(8 – 31 March 2019)

As part of its preparations for REF2021 the University is required by Research England to develop a Code of Practice. The Code of Practice frames the University’s decision-making processes for REF2021 within the context of the principles of equality and diversity and all relevant legislation.  It details the key policy decisions on:   

  • the fair and transparent identification of staff with significant responsibility for research
  • determining who is an independent researcher
  • the selection of outputs.

The consultation process includes an online consultation which is now open and available at REF2021 Consultation on Code of Practice

Who should contribute to the consultation?

We invite feedback on the Code of Practice from all researchers and research support staff across the collegiate University. It should take about 15 – 20 minutes to complete and will be open until midnight on 31 March 2019. 

Why contribute to the consultation?

The purpose of the REF is to inform the selective allocation of quality-related funding for research (for 2017-18, this equates to approximately £1.6 billion per year).  The importance of the REF to financial sustainability of the University cannot be underestimated, providing, as it does, for funding for the research priorities of the University and supporting key institutional initiatives.

What happens with your feedback?

The Code of Practice has been developed within the guidelines issued by Research England.  Feedback received via the consultation that is consistent with these guidelines and consistent with the principles of Transparency, Inclusivity, Consistency and Accountability will be incorporated into the Code of Practice that will be submitted to Research England for approval in June. 

Paper copies of the consultation are available on request from the REF Office, Research Strategy Office, Old Schools, Trinity Lane, CB2 1TN, tel:  01223 763306