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Research Excellence Framework 2021

Date: 30/10/2017

Opportunity to be a panel member of the UK Higher Education Institutions Research Excellence Framework 2021 

POS has been invited to nominate panel members  in the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework (REF). The career development rewards for the individual(s) nominated by the Society are high and panel members will receive fees covering the criteria-setting and assessment phases of the exercise, set at £3,000. 

The REF is the system for assessing the quality and impact of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). It was first conducted in 2014, and replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The REF will be undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies: the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland.
The REF exercise will be completed in 2021 and the results will be used by the four funding bodies to drive their allocations of research funding to HEIs. It will also provide useful benchmarking information and reputational yardsticks, and provide accountability for public investment in research and demonstrate its benefits. 

Expert panels
The REF will be undertaken through a process of expert review. HEIs will be invited to make submissions which will be assessed by 34 subject-based expert sub-panels, working under the guidance of four main panels. Further information on the panel structure, the roles, responsibilities and workload of panel members and the criteria for appointment can be found in the publication 'Roles and recruitment of expert panels' (REF 2017/03) available at
High calibre panel chairs and members who command the confidence of the academic community and wider stakeholders will be essential to the success of the REF. The four main panel chairs have been appointed (their details are available at and we are currently in the process of appointing the sub-panel chairs.


POS have been invited to nominate candidates to be panel members. Nominations should be submitted to by noon, 20 November 2017.
There is no limit on the number of individuals we can nominate and we are encouraged to consider a wide range of individuals to cover the full breadth of our research interests.  
The funding bodies are seeking nominations of candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, institution types and geographical region. They particularly welcome nominations of candidates from groups previously under-represented on assessment panels, including women, people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, and disabled people.
Nominations for candidates are invited for:

  • additional main panel members (with expertise in leading, commissioning or making use of interdisciplinary research, leading research internationally, or senior level experience in the commissioning, use or wider benefits of research)
  • sub-panel members and assessors (including practising researchers, individuals with expertise in commissioning, applying or making use of research, and interdisciplinary advisers).

REF would like to receive nominations of individuals who have served previously on REF or Research Assessment Exercise panels, as well as those for whom this would be a new experience. Heads of HEIs may not be nominated as panel members.
Individuals who are nominated will need to confirm that they are willing and able to serve as a panel member, before their names and contact details are put forward. Nominating bodies should also ensure that nominees are aware of the provisional timetable and workload implications.  A guide for research users taking part in the REF is available at
Full details on the roles and the workload implications can be found in 'Roles and recruitment of expert panels' (REF 2017/03) available at
Equality and diversity in the nominations process
To help achieve the REF aim of increasing the representativeness of the expert panels, all associations or organisations wishing to submit nominations for REF panel membership will need to provide information about how equality and diversity issues were taken into account in putting forward nominations. They have provided guidance and a template for this purpose online at
Further information

Further information about the REF can be found on their website at

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