The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

The REF is undertaken by Research England. The next exercise will be conducted in 2021.

The main purposes of the REF are:

  • To provide accountability for public investment in research
  • To provide benchmarking information for use within the Higher Education sector and for public information.
  • To inform the selective allocation of quality-related (QR) funding for research

The REF assesses three distinct elements:

  • quality of research outputs
  • impact of research beyond academia
  • the environment that supports research.

The UCO is committed to joining REF for the first time in 2021.

Read our REF Code of Practice.