Reflections on the Stern Review

Maddalaine Ansell, University Alliance Chief Executive, shared her reflections on the Stern Review with Wonkhe:

“Overall, the previous REF worked reasonably well. It increased research quality, encouraged dynamism and, within institutions, helped managers to make strategic decisions. We were therefore pleased that Lord Stern left the bones of it – including assessment predominantly by peer review – in place.  It also makes sense to align the REF with the TEF by recognising the positive impact that research can have on teaching.

“We do have concerns, however, about the new requirement to submit all research active staff. There can be significant variation in how much time faculty members spend on research that leads to returnable outputs. Many researchers also spend time teaching and carrying out contract work for business. It would be a real shame if the new framework discouraged researchers from engaging in a mix of beneficial activities.  However, enabling institutions to return more outputs for some research active staff and fewer for others may allow for some flexibility.

“In the end, what matters is that research excellence is funded wherever it is found – including within those universities that currently don’t receive high volumes of research funding. As long as the REF is used to identify this, it will be serving its purpose.”


Further reading