REF submission – March 2021 and post-REF plans

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Our final submission to the REF2021 exercise is fast approaching, but what are the plans for impact post-REF?

The University considers research impact not as a means to an end, but as a public good in itself and our researchers have a duty to demonstrate impact from our research. This is particularly important for research which is publicly funded, but is relevant for all of our research. Impact is central to our Industry Collaboration Strategy, and inherent in our focus on the connected, co-created, and transformational research which will inform our new Research and Enterprise strategy.

We need to remember that the process of generating impact and gathering impact evidence never stops: impact is ongoing and should be a process built into all research.

As such, research impact is now an integral part of a number of University processes and this ensures that evidence is captured from the outset of all research projects:

  • Successful KTP/iCASE applications are flagged to the central Impact Coordinator so that an Impact Action Plan can be set up to monitor activity; the KTP & Partnerships Office also capture impact through their own reporting mechanisms
  • Successful HEIF-funded applications (through the Industry Collaboration team) are flagged to the central Impact Coordinator, where a research impact element is involved, so that an Impact Action Plan can be set up to monitor activity
  • Externally funded applications are referred to the central Impact Coordinator / School Impact Leads for review/guidance and also follow-up if successful
  • The Ethics Approval process has, since September 2020, contained a section that must be completed to cover impact collection after a project has ended

There are other forms of support available throughout the year to help researchers with developing their research impact as follows:

  • Impact training – both centrally (through the SECRET programme) and at School level
  • Impact mentoring – support from School Impact Leads is available to assist with development of bids, guidance on generating impact and collecting evidence etc.
  • Impact funding – the Research Impact Fund offers 2 calls for applications each year to support researchers in impact-generating activities
  • Impact Action Plans – the Impact Coordinator and School Impact Leads provide one-to-one support with researchers who are new to impact or who have just acquired research funding so that impact can be monitored and developed at regular intervals
  • Impact resources – a full range of resources, relating to REF and more widely, including links to external sites, is available at www.

So, why not go to to check out all our impact guidance and more.

If you would like to find out more about impact in general, please contact Emma Sutton, Impact, Engagement and Environment Coordinator on

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