Wednesday, 25 March, 2020
Acknowledging the effect of coronavirus on university Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission preparations, the Government has announced it is putting the exercise on hold until further notice. The Government understands that institutions are having to divert staff resource and expertise to other critical areas and are also dealing with the impact of social distancing on research activity. This, alongside funders delaying or cancelling grant funding opportunities, has created serious disruption to the university sector at a time when the research community has needed to mobilise at a rapid rate to join the effort to tackle the global novel coronavirus outbreak.
REF director at Research England, Kim Hackett, says that the UK-wide audit of research outputs will be postponed, and the submission deadline of 27 November 2020 will no longer apply. The Director stated ‘we will announce a new submission deadline no later than eight months prior to the deadline.’
The Director confirmed that the current REF census date of 31 July 2020 would remain unchanged. The 3 April deadline for nominations to the expert panels has been lifted and nominations may continue to be made until further notice.
The Government will carry out a ‘light touch’ consultation on the adapted details of the framework.