Wonkhe: Making staff selection work in REF 2021

Policy and Programmes Manager at University Alliance, Tom Frostick, writes on HEFCE’s consultation on The second Research Excellence Framework.

Tom outlines the main recommendations in University Alliance’s response to the consultation.

“The recommendation provoked a strong response from the sector but two warnings in particular stood out. First, since not everyone with research in their contract is required to produce ‘REFable’ outputs, institutions would be left in the position of either including such individuals in their submission and taking a hit to their quality profile, or switching staff onto teaching-only contracts at the expense of people’s careers. The units most at risk would be those in a heavy practice-based subject such as allied health, education, architecture and law. These are populated by individuals whose expertise and authority to teach is informed by something other (but no less valuable to the ecosystem) than research leading to REF outputs.

“Second, in some circumstances, the proposal to use HESA data would result in REF panels assessing a high volume of lower scoring outputs which institutions did not want to submit. This would obfuscate the picture of ‘research excellence’ which the REF is supposed to give us.”

Read Tom’s article in full here.

Further reading