Westminster Higher Education Forum

Conferences that are scheduled to take place before September will be conducted online.
The format will mirror physical conferences organised by the Forum with speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish.
The conferences will be chaired and there will be opportunities for delegate questions and comments.
We will be contacting all participants in advance of each conference with full information and guidance on how to take part.
There will be some exceptions where conferences will be postponed, for instance those that would largely involve key stakeholders in the NHS or emergency services.
All participants affected by this will be informed as soon as possible.
If you’d like to speak to us over the phone about any booking-related queries, please call one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7538736244

Next steps for the Research Excellence Framework

Morning, Tuesday, 23rd March 2021

Central London


This conference will examine the next steps for the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Taking place as higher education institutions prepare their submissions to REF 2021 - following the launch of the official REF 2021 submission system - discussion will draw on lessons from the development of the current cycle and look ahead to the next iteration of the Framework.

The agenda focuses on:

  • Developing and incentivising positive research environments and an inclusive research culture as part of the REF;
  • The influence of the REF on research integrity and academic freedom;
  • Open access; and
  • Impact criteria.

We are pleased to include a keynote contribution from Dr Steven Hill, Director of Research, Research England.

Further confirmed contributors include: Dr Laura Bellingan, Royal Society of Biology; Professor Anne Boddington, Kingston University; Professor Thom Brooks, Durham University; Sofia Fernandes, University of Exeter; James Murray, Taylor Vinters; and Professor Sylvia Walby, City, University of London and REF2021.

The agenda in summary:

  • The road to REF 2021 - lessons from developing and delivering the current cycle;
  • The Real-Time REF Review - outcomes from the pilot study;
  • Research environments in the REF - stimulating positive cultures and wellbeing, academic independence, and interdisciplinary research;
  • Open research - moving beyond REF 2021 requirements, alignment with UKRI open access policy, and the broader open science agenda; and
  • Impactful research - delivery and measurement, including the significance of increased weighting, ‘institutional game-playing’, and the evidence base for effective impact assessment.

Engagement with policy officials at this conference

Westminster Higher Education Forum conferences typically attract strong interest from policymakers. This seminar will be an opportunity for stakeholders to engage with officials who have reserved places representing: BEIS; Department for Education; Department for Transport; Department of Health and Social Care; DFID; Government Equalities Office; Government Office for Science; HM Treasury; Ministry of Justice; UKRI and the Welsh Government.

Keynote Speaker

Dr Steven Hill

Director of Research, Research England

Keynote Speaker

Dr Steven Hill

Director of Research, Research England


Dr Laura Bellingan

Science Policy Manager, Royal Society of Biology

Sofia Fernandes

Open Research Manager, University of Exeter

James Murray

Associate, Taylor Vinters

Professor Thom Brooks

Dean & Chair in Law and Government, Durham University

Professor Sylvia Walby

Professor of Sociology and Director, Violence and Society Centre, City, University of London and Chair, Sociology Sub-Panel, REF2021

Dr Julie Bayley

Director of Research Impact Development and ARMA Director of Qualifications, University of Lincoln

Dr Emma Williamson

Reader in Gender Based Violence, University of Bristol

Professor Paul Phillips

Professor of Strategic Management, Kent Business School, University of Kent

Professor Anne Boddington

Pro Vice Chancellor, Research, Business & Innovation, Kingston University

Dr Juergen Wastl

Director Academic Relations and Consultancy, Digital Science