Getting ready for REF2021!

Last week the latest batch of REF rules were released. These included clarifications on portability rules, the level of outputs required, definitions of who should be included in the return and how many impact case studies will be needed for each Unit of Assessment. With the release of these key funding rules the countdown is on to the REF census date, 31 July 2020. This is only two and a half years away! Whilst this may seem a long time, for those in academia and HE it will go very quickly as the pace at which outputs are drafted and published let alone the development of robust and traceable impact are long term projects.

Ensuring staff have the skills to ‘deliver’ the outputs and impacts for REF is not something that many universities instinctively look to when looking at what drives success but research from Professor John Sharp at Leeds Beckett University suggests that understanding your researchers skills levels and what support and development needs they have can help transform research cultures. Targeting support is crucial to success. This is particularly the case when it comes to academic writing, a skill that it is assumed all academics have but in reality many are not confident about.

We are keen to explore the current state of readiness amongst researchers at UK Higher Education Institutions and in conjunction with Professor Sharp we have developed a short survey to explore the thoughts of the sector. We welcome the thoughts of everyone in the sector, whether they are a research leader, academic, vice-chancellor, administrator or providing research support. The survey, which can be accessed here, will be open until 22 December and we will provide a summary of the responses in the new year on this blog. There is the option of having follow up conversations to discuss the results and what the implications might be for your university, research centre, faculty or school might be if that would be of interest.

We’d love to have as many views as possible! If you want to discuss any aspect of how Cloud Chamber may be able to support your preparations for REF 2021 then please check out our website or drop me an email.

Lachlan Smith

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