Research Excellence Framework (REF) at Coventry

About the REF

The REF is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It first took place in 2014, replacing the previous Research Assessment Exercise. The next exercise will be conducted in 2021.

What is the REF's purpose?

  • 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 within the HE sector and for public information
  • To inform the selective allocation of funding for research.

How is the REF carried out?

The REF is a process of expert 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.
For further information on REF, see www.ref.ac.uk, or email Research Excellence Unit.