Nominations invited for Research Excellence Framework panel

17 Mar 2020

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It first took place in 2014 and the next exercise will be conducted in 2021. The REF invites nominations from associations or organisations with a clear interest in the conduct, quality, funding or wider benefits of publicly funded research.

The REF is a process of expert review, carried out by expert panels for each of the 34 subject-based units of assessment (UOAs), under the guidance of four main panels. Expert panels are made up of senior academics, international members, and research users. For each submission from an institute of Higher Education, three distinct elements are assessed: the quality of outputs (e.g. publications, performances, and exhibitions), their impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research.

Several of the panels are now looking to recruit additional assessors, covering specific technical areas either as ‘output assessors’ (looking at the science) or ‘impact assessors’ (looking at the claimed impact of the science). The areas of expertise being sought are listed here. Detail on the role of panel members is available at

The funding bodies are seeking nominations of candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, institution types and geographical region. We particularly welcome nominations of candidates from under-represented groups, including in particular people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. 

New deadline set for panel nominations

Nominations of candidates to the role of member or assessor to the REF expert panels are invited by midday, 7 September 2020. This is the latest date by which nominations will be accepted. Where possible and appropriate, nominating bodies are invited to submit nominations before this date.

The funding bodies are seeking nominations of candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, institution types and geographical region. Nominations of candidates from under-represented groups are particularly welcomed, including people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The call for panel nominations launched in February 2020, in order to appoint further panel members and assessors with specific expertise to finalise the membership of the sub-panels. This includes the appointment of both practising researchers and individuals with professional experience of making use of, applying or benefitting from academic research.

The original April deadline for nominations was lifted when the REF was put on hold in response to the effects of coronavirus. The REF team has now written to nominating bodies confirming the new deadline, which has been put in place following confirmation of the revised submission deadline for the REF as midday, 31 March 2021.

The revised timeframe for the assessment work by the panels is May 2021 to February 2022.

Documents for download: