Posts tagged: REF2021

REF 2021: Updated internal deadlines for 2021

As has been communicated over the past few months, the REF2021 final deadline has been moved to midday 31 March 2021. This takes into account the period of disruption during 2020 because of Covid-19.

The UoS REF team are working hard to ensure that we meet this deadline in good time and have been coordinating activities over the past few months around submission to the three areas that are assessed as part of the REF exercise, namely Outputs (60% of the overall score); Impact (25% of the overall score) and Environment (15% of the overall score). read more

REF submission deadline 31 March 2021 : Update

The recommencement of REF 2021 marks the start of the countdown to the revised submission deadline of midday, 31 March 2021, following a period during which the exercise was on hold in response to COVID-19.

As a result, our internal deadlines have moved and we are now working full steam ahead towards our new submission deadline in 2021.

New internal and external deadlines for the REF submission are as follows:

December 2020

1December: submission of 15 x impact case study drafts for final external peer review read more

‘Impact’ on Impact Preparations for REF2021

There is currently still some uncertainty around revised dates for REF2021. What we know at this stage is that the final REF2021 submission deadline has been moved from 27 November 2020 to some point in 2020, but this will be 31 March 2020 at the earliest.

The REF2021 impact generation period was originally set to end 31 July 2020. Given the ongoing challenges around the current coronavirus pandemic, Research England has consulted with the sector and it appears likely that the current impact generation period will be extended for an additional 5 months to 31 December 2020 in order to allow case study leads to undertake activities that have had to be cancelled or deferred as a result of Covid-19 within the new timeframe. read more

Guidance on Impact Evidence Collection for REF2021

Now that the time for generating impact is drawing to a close (cut-off for impact generation for inclusion in case studies is 31 July 2020), focus should be turning towards the collection and collation of evidence to corroborate the impacts being claimed.

One main source of impact evidence that many of our case study leads will be using is testimonial evidence.

Below is an example of best practice in how to obtain a testimonial:

  • Maintain ongoing informal discussions with your testimonial contacts so that they are primed for your request
  • Decide which form of testimonial would work best with your chosen contact: this could be a video testimonial, a written testimonial or an interview, which is then written up into a testimonial
  • The ‘interview’ process could unfold as follows:
  1. Case study lead reflecting on what contact and others had said (this may take a few months of iterative refinement of bullet points)
  2. Case study lead turning the bullet points into questions
  3. Case study lead then ordering the questions to be logical to be used in an interview with the contact
  4. Case study lead obtaining formal permission to conduct an interview for a testimonial to be developed which would ultimately be used in REF submission and appear on our web-page for impact
  5. Case study lead conducting the interview either face-to-face, via Skype or phone and recording it
  6. Case study lead transcribing the interview and extracting ‘the important stuff’ into a basic narrative
  7. Case study lead sharing the basic narrative with School Impact Lead/University’s Impact Coordinator for constructive feedback in order to create the first draft of the testimonial
  8. Case study lead sharing the draft testimonial with colleagues to provide critical feedback and then re-editing where necessary
  9. Case study lead sending the testimonial to their contact, suggesting that they edit to what they are happy with and then signs off (on letter-headed paper)

This process can take some time, so this must be factored in when requesting testimonials. read more

REF2021 Countdown to Submission

Calling all impact case study leads!

We are now fast approaching REF2021 submission and with this in mind, we would like to remind colleagues of the impact case study deadlines that we are working to for the remainder of 2020:

Internal Peer Review  – March/April 2020

  • Revised draft of impact case studies submitted late February/early March
  • 4 Panels (as per REF panels A, B, C, D) to review a batch of case studies during March
  • 4 Panel meetings to be held to discuss and collate feedback during April

External Peer Review – May/June 2020

  • Insights for Impact consultant, Saskia Gent, will be reviewing all of our likely impact case study submissions between mid-May and mid-June 2020
  • Feedback will be provided to all impact case study leads in the form of a written report and annotations on their drafts

Impact Generation Deadline – 31 July 2020

  • The cut-off point for generating impact to be included in impact case studies is 31 July 2020
  • It is possible still to collect testimonial information and other impact evidence beyond this time, but all evidence must clearly refer to impact that has taken place between 1 August 2013 and 31 July 2020

Submission of 4th Impact Case Study Draft – 30 September 2020

  • All impact case study leads will be expected to provide a complete narrative, as well as their sources of evidence to corroborate the impact by this time

Impact Action Plan Year-End Review Meetings – September & October 2020

  • Final action plan meetings will be organised in the build-up to the final submission in November 2020 in order to ensure that all submissions are on track for delivery

One-to-one Sessions with Chris Simms to Improve Narratives – September – November 2020 read more

Impact Case Study Resource Fund 2019/20

Based on REF2014 data, a 4* impact case study is estimated to be worth at least £324,000 to an institution in QR funding over the course of the REF cycle. This is the equivalent value of around 5 to 6 outputs.

Given that the weighting for impact has increased in REF2021 from 20% to 25% of the overall total, the University recognises the need to invest in its impact case studies to ensure the strongest return possible.

Therefore, in order to support our REF2021 impact case study submission, Research & Knowledge Exchange are making available a central pot of money to be accessed by our selected case study leads to assist with case study activity in the final year of REF impact generation (1 August 2019 – 31 July 2020). read more

Preparing for impact peer review

This month we are conducting an internal peer review of our potential impact case studies in preparation for REF2021. Twenty of these will subsequently be selected for external peer review in June.

Each Unit of Assessment (UoA) team has been asked to assign at least two reviewers to each impact case study (1 x Lead reviewer from the same UoA, 1 x Associate reviewer from a different UoA and, optionally, 1 x Non-academic reviewer [industry partner or similar]).

Reviewers have been given 4 weeks to look over the case studies and provide their feedback on a review sheet covering each of the 5 main areas in the impact case study (Summary of the impact; Underpinning research; References to the research; Details of the impact; Sources to corroborate the impact). read more

Refining your impact case studies

Our potential case study leads for REF2021 have recently submitted the second draft of their impact case studies, which will be assessed as part of an internal peer review process in April. Twenty of these will then also be selected for external peer review in June.

At this stage in the process, feedback from colleagues can be key in ensuring that the case studies reach their full potential. Following the internal and external peer reviews we will have just over a year to generate some more impact, collect impact evidence and refine the narrative further before the REF submission deadline. read more

Confirmed Impact Guidance for REF2021

With less than 2 years to go until our REF submission (deadline: Friday, 27th November 2020), the final set of guidance materials for REF2021 (including guidance on submissions and panel guidelines) was published on 31 January 2019 following wide consultation with the sector in late 2018. The final guidance documentation is available at

What does this mean for impact?

The salient points to take from the final REF guidance on impact case study submission are as follows:

Definition of impact for the REF read more

2019 preparations and ‘REF readiness’

With Christmas fast approaching, here in the REF team we are already turning our attention to 2019 and considering how our REF readiness activities will start to take shape. In terms of our preparations around impact, the new year will herald a raft of targeted activities to help ensure that our case study submission in 2020 is the strongest it can possibly be.

Key deadlines

A few key dates in 2019 for our impact case study leads to bear in mind are as follows:

  • 28 February 2019 – Submission of revised impact case study drafts (using new REF2021 template)
  • February/March 2019 – Impact Action Plan mid-point review meetings
  • March 2019 – Recording of short impact videos (via Marketing & External Relations)
  • 8 April 2019 – Chris Simms informal peer review workshop
  • April 2019 – Planned formal internal peer review of impact case studies
  • June 2019 – Planned formal external peer review of impact case studies
  • read more