SHU preparations for the REF – Institutional Code of Practice (May 2019)

Professor Wayne Cranton, Dean of Research.

For this special edition of the RIO Newsletter, I would like to take the (very timely) opportunity to update colleagues on theSHU Code of Practice for the Preparation of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 Submission.


Each institution making a submission to REF 2021 is required to develop, document and apply a Code of Practice (CoP) on determining who is an independent researcher and the selection of outputs in their REF submissions. Those institutions not submitting 100 per cent of Category A eligible staff [i] are required to include in the Code of Practice the criteria and processes, agreed with staff, for identifying staff with significant responsibility for research.

The funding bodies require that institutions’ Codes of Practice be submitted to the REF team by 7 June 2019. The REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) will examine these and will provide advice to the funding bodies on approving the Codes. Outcomes will be communicated in August 2019, and there will then be an opportunity for institutions to revise Codes where the need is identified as part of the approval process. The REF team will publish approved Codes of Practice by the end of 2019.

The Code of Practice specifically needs to set out (within the parameters/criteria established by Research England) the University’s processes for:

  • identifying which staff have significant responsibility for research (SRR)
  • determining which staff meet the definition of an independent researcher
  • ensuring the fair and transparent selection of outputs

Equality and diversity considerations are imperative to the processes established in the Code of Practice, and will be monitored throughout the preparations for the REF

The SHU Code of Practice has been developed by a dedicated group consisting of members of the academic community, representatives from UCU, and colleagues from RIO and HR&OD working in partnership, and through direct consultation with staff across the University.

REF Code of Practice Working Group

  • Wayne Cranton, Dean of Research
  • Anita Gurney, Head of Research Services, RIO
  • Keith Fildes, Research Development Manager, RIO
  • Hilary Hughes, Senior HR Business Partner, HROD
  • Anya Louis, UCU Representative
  • Rinella Cere, UCU Representative
  • Aloma Onyemah, Head of Equality and Diversity, HROD
  • John Reidy, Head of Dept. (Psychology, Sociology and Politics)

The draft CoP was communicated to all Category A eligible staff on 5 March 2019, and staff were invited to comment and feedback on the draft CoP, via an online survey – which was open from that point until 1 April. Four staff consultation events were held between 11-14 March, and a presentation was made to the Information and Consultation Committee on 27 March.

Following the consultation, a response to feedback was communicated to all Category A eligible staff (available on the Creating Knowledge Hub), and I am delighted to report that agreement by UCU was subsequently confirmed and reported at the Creating Knowledge Pillar Board on 9 May, with the SHU Code of Practice submitted to Research England on Monday 20 May.

This is a significant milestone in our preparations for REF2021, and I am extremely grateful for the support of colleagues across the University in ensuring the success of this stage of the process. I would particularly like to thank the members of the Working Group for the constructive and robust approach taken throughout the process.

For colleagues who wish to find out more about the REF preparations, I would encourage you to look at the FAQ section of the REF pages on the Creating Knowledge Hub, where we will update the information as we move towards the next stages of the process, including more detail on each of the the Units of Assessment to be submitted, and the next phase of draft submissions.

Wayne Cranton, May 2019.

REF FAQ for Researchers
SHU Draft CoP Consultation Response
SHU Code of Practice

[i] Category A eligible staff are those who meet the core eligibility criteria:

  1. Academic Staff with a contract of employment of 0.2 FTE or greater on the payroll of the submitting institution on the census date.
  2. Academic staff whose primary employment function is to undertake either ‘research only’ or ‘teaching and research’.