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Research Excellence Framework

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The last exercise took place in 2014 and the next REF is due to take place in 2021. The REF has been set up with the aim of securing the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within the UK higher education sector.



The assessment outcomes provide (i) accountability for public spending on research, and help to evidence the benefits of such investment; (ii) benchmarking information and reputational yardsticks for use within the higher education sector; and (iii) information for the selective allocation of funding and for public information.

The results of REF inform the distribution of the quality-related (QR) grant distribution from the Higher Education Funding Councils. DMU will be building on its previous REF experience to support its strategic aims in increasing the level of research and establishing DMU in the top 400 of international research universities. 

The REF assesses research excellence through a process of discipline-based expert review, informed by appropriate quantitative indicators.

Our submission to REF 2021 will reflect the diverse range of interests, high quality outputs and significant impact that our researchers have generated since the last REF.

A significant part of the exercise is the review of our Code of Practice for REF 2021 by Research England. The Code of Practice outlines how the principles of fairness and transparency inform DMU’s decisions and processes around submissions to REF 2021, establishing processes for (i) the fair and transparent identification of staff with significant responsibility for research; (ii) determining who is an independent researcher; and (iii) the selection of outputs, including approaches to supporting staff with individual circumstances that adversely affect their productivity.

Our Code of Practice was accepted by Research England and is available to view here.