QMU and REF
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The outcomes of the REF are used to benchmark research quality, to provide accountability on the use of public funding and to inform the allocation of government funding to universities (research excellence-related funding). The funding bodies’ shared policy aim for research assessment is to secure the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within UK higher education.
What is the REF's purpose?
- to inform the selective allocation of funding for research
- to provide accountability for public investment in research and produce evidence of the benefits of this investment
- to provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks, for use in the higher education sector and for public information.
How is the REF carried out?
The REF is a process of expert peer 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, 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. Equality, diversity and inclusion is central to REF.