John Denham Announces: Proposals for REF to Move Ahead

Proposals to develop the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the successor to the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) are to move ahead, following a statement today by John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Two significant changes to the proposals have occurred, following consultation by HEFCE, to which the BES responded:

1. The timescale for introducing the REF will be pushed back by 12 months to allow a more comprehensive pilot of the new system to be run.
2. There will no longer be such a clear distinction between arrangements for science-based and non-science subjects, as originally proposed. Assessment of both sets of subjects will proceed through a system of metrics (including bibliometrics where appropriate) and peer-review by expert panels.

No information is yet available on whether scientists’ engagement in outward-facing activities, such as engagement with policy, will be considered in acdemics’ assessment under the REF, something which the BES would strongly support.

Links to Ministerial Statement and DIUS Press Release