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The UK higher education funding bodies have recently published their initial decisions on REF 2028. Please see the Future Research Assessment Programme for further information.
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The guidance in this document has been revised in response to the effects of COVID-19. Please click here to see an overview of all changes to timeframes, along with additional published guidance and details of contingency plans for REF 2021.

Executive summary


1. This document sets out guidance on drawing up a code of practice on:

  • the fair and transparent identification of staff with significant responsibility for research
  • determining who is an independent researcher
  • the selection of outputs.

Key points

2. Each institution making a submission is required to develop, document and apply a code of practice on the fair and transparent identification of staff with significant responsibility for research (where a higher education institute (HEI) is not submitting 100 per cent of Category A eligible staff); determining who is an independent researcher; and the selection of outputs, including approaches to supporting staff with circumstances.

3. The guidance set out in this document is intended to assist HEIs in drawing up a code of practice that frames their decision-making processes in relation to REF 2021 in the context of the principles of equality and diversity, and all relevant legislation.

4. The deadline for submitting codes of practice is noon, 7 June 2019. The Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) will examine the codes and advise the UK funding bodies on their adherence to the guidance, prior to approval and publication. All submitted and approved codes of practice will be published before the submission deadline. The provisional publication date is December 2019.

Action required

5. This document is for information and to guide institutions in drawing up and implementing a code of practice. No action is required by HEIs at this stage.

Further information

6. Enquiries from members of staff at UK HEIs should be directed in the first instance to their institutional REF contact.

7. Other enquiries should be addressed to