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Do you need to make a declaration of circumstances for REF 2021?

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a regular assessment by Research England and the other funding bodies of the research taking place in UK universities. The next REF exercise is fast approaching, and our preparations are now well underway.

Our institutional Code of Practice has now been approved by Research England, and can be found here. This Code sets out our approach to key areas of the REF, including which people and which outputs will be submitted.

It is also important that everyone knows their rights when it comes to recognition for people whose ability to research in the REF period (2014 – 2020) has been affected by personal circumstances. These could include periods of ill health, parental leave, status as an early career researcher (ECR) or other factors.

Anyone being submitted to the REF exercise can choose to make a declaration of personal circumstances. This process is completely voluntary – staff are free to choose whether they wish to participate. Declarations will be used to make sure our submission to the REF is done in a fair and equitable way, including potentially reducing the number of outputs that are submitted.

Information Sessions

Two information sessions on the declaration process will be taking place to provide more information. Any staff who have questions or want to learn more about REF and declaring circumstances are welcome to attend.

  • Monday 25 November, 1pm – 2pm, LT3, Richmond Building
  • Tuesday 3 December, 12pm – 1pm, EW1.10, Eldon Building

Book onto a session.

This post on the RIS website also gives a bit more detail on declaring circumstances.

Staff can also contact the REF E&D Advisory Group directly via email at with any questions relating to declaring circumstances.

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