Westminster Higher Education Forum

Next steps for the Research Excellence Framework

Morning, Thursday, 4th April 2019

Sixty One Whitehall, London SW1A 2ET


This timely conference will bring together policymakers and key stakeholders to examine the next steps for the second Research Excellence Framework (REF), currently being developed by the UK higher education funding bodies. It will also be an opportunity to consider the institutional-level environment submission which will take place alongside REF 2021.

Delegates will assess the conclusions of the ‘real time’ review of the framework currently being conducted by Research England, and discuss strategies to ensure that the REF panels promote equality and reflect the diversity of the sector and the academic workforce, which was identified as a priority by the higher education funding bodies.

They will also discuss next steps for universities in ensuring that their open access policies are in place for REF 2021, including deposition, reconciling the use of broad standards with the needs of specific disciplinary communities, legal and ethical issues relating to medical research, and the technical barriers to open access.

Attendees will consider how REF can best support interdisciplinary and collaborative research, which was also identified as a key priority by funding bodies - looking at membership, how to tackle the challenges such as the compartmentalisation of research into subject groupings, and dealing with differences in linguistic and social conventions between disciplines.

Further sessions examine the likely effects of the increased weighting of ‘impact’ to 25% and latest thinking on strategies research institutions and individual researchers can employ to maximise the impact of their research, the practical challenges in demonstrating impact, and issues around its measurement across different disciplines.

Keynote Speaker

Dr Steven Hill

Director of Research, Research England

Keynote Speaker

Dr Steven Hill

Director of Research, Research England


Viscount Younger of Leckie

Spokesman for Higher Education and Government Whip for Education, International Trade, Scotland, Wales and NI

Lord Triesman

former Minister for Higher Education Quality


David Ross

Executive Director, Open Access, SAGE Publishing

Ellen Pugh

Policy Programme Manager, Advance HE and Member, REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel

Professor Rick Delbridge

Member, REF Interdisciplinary Research Advisory Panel; Academic Lead, SPARK and Dean of Research, Innovation and Enterprise, Cardiff University

Professor Roger Goodman

Chair of Council, Academy of Social Sciences and Warden, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford

Professor Rusi Jaspal

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), De Montfort University

Dr Deirdre Black

Head of Research and Innovation, Royal Society of Chemistry

Nicola Dowson

Senior Library Services Manager, Research Support, The Open University

Professor Dana Arnold

University of East Anglia

Valerie McCutcheon

former Chair, CASRAI UK; Open Access Special Interest Group Champion, Association of Research Managers and Administrators; Research Information Manager, University of Glasgow and Member, RCUK Open Access Practitioners Group

Professor Mark Reed

Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation, Newcastle University and Chief Executive, Fast Track Impact

Faith Wainwright

Director and Head of Skills and Knowledge, Arup

Professor Dianne Berry

Chair, REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel and Dean, Postgraduate Research Studies and Professor of Psychology, University of Reading