External Context

Purpose of the REF

For the government, the purpose of the REF is to

  • Provide accountability for public investment in research and produce evidence of the benefits of this investment
  • Provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks, for use within the HE sector and for public information
  • Inform the selective allocation of funding for research

Further roles fulfilled by the REF are to

  • Provide a rich evidence base to inform strategic decisions about national research priorities
  • Create a strong performance incentive for HEIs and individual researchers
  • Inform decisions on resource allocation by individual HEIs and other bodies

Policy Context

The REF constantly evolves, with major changes to its design taking place between each exercise. The Policy and Performance team in RIO keeps abreast of these developments and co-ordinates institutional responses to consultations.

Further details of the Stern Review and Proposals for REF 2021 and reports of External Events attended by the team have been documented.

An archive of REF 2014, RAE 2008 and earlier RAEs is also maintained.