Preparing your REF2021 ICS – COVID-19 impact statement

As a result of the impact COVID-19, the following adjustments have been made:

Extension to the assessment period for impact

The original census period for impact to have occurred ran until 31 July 2020. To support submissions affected by COVID-19 the period has been extended to 31 December 2020. You may report impact until this date, however it is not a requirement or expectation that case studies will be extended to this date.

Arrangements for delayed publication of underpinning research

The period for the underpinning research remains as 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2020. However, where the final version of an output has been delayed due to COVID-19, and is therefore not in the public domain by the end of this period, it may be listed as an underpinning research reference in accordance with the provisions in place for the submission of delayed outputs in REF2.

Where the publication of an output listed in Section 3 has been delayed due to COVID-19 you should clearly identify it as a delayed output within the reference, eg. add  [delayed output] after the reference.

As with all underpinning research, the output must be capable of being made available to panels.

Provision of an ‘Affected case study statement’

If key aspects of your REF2021 Impact Case Study have been significantly changed due to COVID-19, you are invited to provide an additional statement to provide this context to the assessing panel.

A statement should only be provided where contextual information is required for the panel to understand aspects of the submitted case study and this information would not typically fit into the case study template. For example, where a central source of corroborating evidence has been affected, and/or where cancelled activities / events have significantly changed key aspects of the case study.

The statements are optional and are not included in the 5-page limit of the case study.

The maximum word count for the statement is 100 words.

Illustrative examples of affected case study statements

These examples illustrate the type of content that might be relevant, your statement may be quite different.

Example 1 *

Planned events with people with dementia, living in care homes, during April-June 2020 were cancelled. Face to face training sessions with carers and nurses in May 2020 were also cancelled, but were rescheduled as online training sessions in November 2020. Corroborating evidence from Memory Aides LTD is unavailable as the company went into administration in June 2020 and staff can no longer be contacted. Corroborating evidence from Sunny Care Home is briefer than intended due to staff at the home focusing on COVID-19

Example 2 *

An interactive exhibition was scheduled at the Tate Modern in April 2020, which was cancelled due to COVID-19. Instead, the exhibition pivoted to an online format during June and July 2020, showcasing 75% of the works intended for the physical exhibition due to website limitations beyond the researchers’ control.

* Excerpt from REF2020/02 Guidance on revisions to REF2021.

Publication of affected case study statements

Along with the wider publication of factual data from the REF2021 submission, affected case study statements are expected to be published at the end of the assessment. Affected case study statements may be excluded from publication where their publication is likely to cause harm to an individual or organisation. Where this is the case, the institution can identify the statement as ‘not for publication’ at the point of submission.


If you are considering providing an affected case study statement, further guidance is available here.


Return to REF2021 ICS Contents.