Category: REF 2014

The REF’s singular focus on excellence limits academic diversity

Research assessment exercises, such as the REF ostensibly serve to evaluate research, but they also shape and manage it. Based on a study of REF submissions in the fields of economics, history, business and politics, Engelbert Stockhammer, argues that …

Causality and complexity in impact statements: Is it time to rethink a one-size-fits-all approach to writing about impact?

As part of the REF assessment researchers across STEM and SSH disciplines are required to write about the impact of their research in essentially the same format. Drawing on a linguistic analysis of REF Impact statements from 2014, Andrea Bonaccorsi, h…

The Grammar of Impact – What can we learn from REF 2014 about writing impact case studies? 

Impact case studies will form an important part of all universities’ eventual submissions to the next round of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Drawing on a linguistic and thematic analysis of 175 impact case studies from REF 2014, Bella Reichard, Mark Reed, Jenn Chubb, Ged Hall, Lucy Jowett, Alisha Peart and Andrea Whittle set out … Continued

2018 in review: round-up of our top posts on research evaluation and impact

The concept of research impact pervades contemporary academic discourse – but what does it actually mean? Research impact is often talked about, but how clear is it what this term really means? Kristel Alla, Wayne Hall, Harvey Whiteford, Brian Head and Carla Meurk find that academic literature discusses research impact but often without properly defining it, with academic discourses mostly drawing on bureaucratic definitions originating from the […]

The A to Z of writing an impact case study

With submission to REF 2021 now less than two years away, university staff and academics are stepping up work to present their best examples of research impact in the form of compelling impact case studies. In thinking about how to approach writing these documents, Sally Brown has compiled this useful A to Z; from understanding your impact aim, all the […]

Impact from critical research: what might it look like and what support is required?

As demands for demonstrating impact are increasingly woven throughout the funding and institutional architectures of higher education, concerns have been raised that the impact agenda could adversely affect critical and blue-skies research, favouring instead research that lends itself more easily to societal uptake. Ahead of REF 2021, Ruth Machen considers what impact from critical research could look like and how […]

How should we balance the research impact ecosystem?

Currently there is much discussion around research impact as REF 2021 preparations intensify. However, universities that are preoccupied with impact case study submissions to the next exercise may be missing the bigger picture. Jenny Ames emphasises the importance of establishing and nurturing a research impact culture; one that can help a university to achieve its vision more broadly and deliver benefits […]

Hitting the QR sweet spot: will new REF2021 rules lead to a different kind of game-playing?

Today marks 999 days until the expected deadline for submissions to REF 2021. Universities’ preparations are already well under way, with additional guidance published last autumn in the form of new REF rules designed to reduce game-playing behaviours among institutions. However, as Simon Kerridge observes, the rule changes may have introduced, or rather enhanced, some hidden dangers around universities’ FTE […]

Resist? Welcome? Co-opt? Ignore? The pressures and possibilities of the REF and impact

The increased focus on impact in research evaluation represents a range of possibilities and pressures to those academics whose work is being assessed. For some it offers an opportunity to progress social justice causes and engage in participatory, bottom-up research approaches with less powerful groups; while to others it is further evidence of the managerial audit culture that is corrupting […]

Why has no other European country adopted the Research Excellence Framework?

Most European countries have followed the UK’s lead in developing performance-based research funding systems (PRFS) for their universities. However, what these countries have not done is adopt the same system, the Research Excellence Framework being its most recent iteration. Instead, many use indicators of institutional performance for funding decisions rather than panel evaluation and peer review. Gunnar Sivertsen has examined […]