December 17, 2014
After years of stress, in-fighting, anxiety and admin, the day has almost arrived: on 18 December, the results of the latest university research audit will be released.
The research excellence framework (REF), an exercise that assesses the quality of academic research, is a huge deal for universities and academics.
The results determine how much research funding they are granted – there’s £2bn a year up for grabs – and they’re used to determine institutions’ rankings in league tables. A poor performance can close a department, while a top rating means steady funding.
154 UK universities took part in the REF, with special panels reviewing a total of 190,000 research submissions by 52,000 academic staff.
How does the process work?
Every six years, institutions are asked to submit examples of their best research to be assessed by a team of academics and industry experts. Each subject area is awarded up to four stars...