Will REF 2021 preparations be affected?

Yes. REF 2021 will be put on hold until further notice to allow institutions to divert staff resource to other critical areas, including those working in clinical and health-related fields.

The submission deadline on 27 November 2020 will no longer apply, and a new submission deadline will be announced no later than eight months prior to the deadline.

Research England has now launched a survey seeking views from the sector regarding the timing of revised submission deadline and a possible extension to the assessment period for impact beyond 31st July 2020. Following internal consultation, the preferred option is for a single submission deadline of 31st March 2021 and to retain 31st July 2020 as the end of the impact assessment period. There will also be a case-by-case mitigation route for Impact Case Studies that have been affected by COVID-19.

Research England and others rely on REF results to make the case to government circles for maintaining investment in university research. Assessment of research will not go away.

Whilst REF 2021 has been put on hold until further notice, work is still ongoing at Newcastle University to prepare the documentation for submission. As the majority of this documentation can be completed electronically, it is still possible to be involved. If you receive any requests from the REF team at the University, for information or updates, please respond.

An announcement from Research England regarding the revised submission deadline and approach to impact is expected soon. A review of the internal timetable will then be carried out and updates will be given regarding any important developments.