Coronavirus information and guidance

REF 2021 Timeline

The REF ‘External timetable’ provides UK wide milestones in REF2021. Institutional milestones for our internal REF2021 processes can be seen by selecting ‘key dates for individuals’ and/or ‘key dates for Units of Assessment’.

  • September 2017

    Initial decisions on the Research Excellence Framework 2021 published

    The first set of the funding bodies' initial decisions on the Research Excellence Framework. Superseded by the final guidance published in Jan 2019.

    More information
  • November 2017

    Initial decisions round 2 and sub panel recruitment

    These decisions from the funding bodies' concern the submission of staff and outputs in the exercise, and further related aspects of the framework. Superseded by the final guidance published in Jan 2019.

    More information
  • May 2018

    UOA Executive Panel meeting

    Review meetings to discuss the progress of the submission for each UOA, attended by UOA leads and representatives from the Research Excellence Board (REB).

    REB - Remit and membership
  • July 2018

    Draft guidance on submissions, draft guidance on codes of practice and consultation on the panel criteria and working methods published

    These documents include the draft general framework for assessment for REF 2021, guidance to HEIs about making submissions, including codes of practice and the draft assessment criteria and working methods of the main and sub-panels for the REF 2021. All now superseded by the final guidance published in Jan 2019.

    Publications from REF 2021
  • October 2018

    UOA Executive Panel meeting

    Review meetings to discuss the progress of the submission for each UOA, attended by UOA leads and representatives from the Research Excellence Board (REB).

    REB - Remit and membership
  • January 2019

    Final guidance on submissions, guidance on codes of practice and the panel criteria and working methods published

    These documents set out the final version of the general framework for assessment for REF 2021, final guidance to HEIs about making submissions, including codes of practice and the final assessment criteria and working methods of the main and sub-panels for the REF 2021.

    Publications from REF 2021
  • April 2019

    Research Independence survey opens

    The independent researcher survey provides a route for ‘academic research’ staff to declare their indicators of independence for REF eligibility consideration.

    More information
  • May - December 2019

    Special submission requests invited

    The UK REF team will consider requests for multiple submissions, exception from submission for small units and for impact case studies requiring security clearance. HEIs have a set of deadlines during this period to make these requests. To discuss a request, please contact Research and innovation services.

    More information
  • May 2019

    UOA Executive Panel meeting

    Review meetings to discuss the progress of the submission for each UOA, attended by UOA leads and representatives from the Research Excellence Board (REB).

    REB - Remit and membership
  • 7th June 2019

    University of St Andrews Institutional Code of practice submitted to SFC

  • August 2019

    Circumstances review survey opens

    The individual circumstances survey provides a route for REF eligible staff to declare circumstances that have had an influence on their ability to work productively during the REF period.

  • September 2019

    Staggered deadlines : request submission esception for small units ; case studies requiring security clearance

  • September-November 2019

    UOA Executive Panel meeting

    Review meetings to discuss the progress of the submission for each UOA, attended by UOA leads and representatives from the Research Excellence Board.

  • Autumn 2019

    Intention to submit survey

    The survey will collect information from HEIs about their submission intentions, to assist with planning of the assessment phase for REF 2021. The information provided in the survey will inform further appointments of members and assessors to the sub-panels. This survey will be co-ordinated by Research and innovation services

    More information
  • December 2019

    Final deadline: Survey of submissions intentions, request submission exception for small units and flag case studies requiring security clearance

    The UK REF team will consider requests for multiple submissions, exception from submission for small units and for impact case studies requiring security clearance. HEIs have a set of deadlines during this period to make these requests. To discuss a request, please contact Research and innovation services

    More information
  • December 2019

    IRED independence decisions

    The institutional REF equality and diversity review group will make decisions on independence based on anonymised circumstances anonymised reports.

    Independent Researcher Survey
    Individual Circumstances Survey
  • December 2019-October 2020

    Appeals open

    The Appeals process is laid out in full in the institutional REF 2021 Code of Practice

    REF 2021 Code of Practice
  • January 2020

    UOA check-ins begin

    Each Head of School and UOA Director of Research will meet confidentially, at least once from January 2020, with members of staff eligible to be submitted to the REF (referred to as ‘REF Individual Check-ins’). An additional REF E&D trained member of academic staff can also be present at the check-in if the member of staff feels that articulating their case would be improved by having a colleague present.

    REF 2021 Code of Practice
  • January 2020

    REF environment workshop – 20th January

    An Environment workshop at which cognate Units can come together and discuss the process of developing their Unit level environment templates and share best practice. Each School is strongly encouraged to send a representative, this needs to be someone closely involved in the writing of the Unit environment template but it does NOT necessarily need to be the Director of Research themselves. Attendees should submit their current drafts for the workshop by 14th January.

  • February 2020

    Deadline for Impact Case studies – 17th February

    DOIs should submit their final case study drafts to the impact team by 17th February.

  • March 2020

    Deadline for outputs and Environment – 2nd March

    UOA leads should submit their final environment draft to the impact team by 2nd March. UOA leads should also ensure all scoring and output metadata for REF2 is entered in Pure by the snapshot deadline of 2nd March.

  • March 2020

    Deadline to apply for circumstances to remove minimum of one output and unit

    More information
  • April 2020

    UOA Executive Panel meeting

    Review meetings to discuss the progress of the submission for each UOA, attended by UOA leads and representatives from the Research Excellence Board.To be scheduled from 20th April to 7 May.

    Research Excellence Board
  • May-June 2020

    Outcomes from circumstances requests communicated

  • 31st July 2020

    Census date

    Census date for staff; end of assessment period (for the research environment, and data about research income and doctoral degrees awarded)

    More information
  • July 2020

    Independence and Circumstances surveys closed

    All survey responses will be processed up to the REF census date.

    Independent Researcher Survey
    Individual Circumstances Survey
  • October 2020

    UOA Executive Panel meeting

    Review meetings to discuss the progress of the submission for each UOA, attended by UOA leads and representatives from the Research Excellence Board.

    Research Excellence Board
  • 31st December 2020

    Research Outputs and Research Impact

    End of assessment period for research publications and impact. As part of the contingency arrangements for REF 2021, the impact assessment period has been universally extended and case studies may therefore describe specific examples of impact achieved in the period 1 August 2013 to 31 December 2020.

    More information
  • January 2021

    UOA sign-off for submission content

    Details of sign off process to be confirmed.

  • 29th January 2021

    Deadline for providing further details for outputs pending publication; redacted versions of impact case studies; and corroborating evidence held for impact case studies

    UK REF Timetable
  • 31st March 2021

    Submission of REF

    Closing date for all HEI submissions

    UK REF Timetable
  • April 2021-March 2022

    Panels assess submissions

    The assessment phase of the REF is likely to run from April 2021 and continue to March 2022 and will involve the full assessment of submissions made by institutions.

    REF 2021 Panels
  • April 2022

    Publication of outcomes

    More information
  • April 2022(tbc)

    Publication of submissions, panel overview reports and sub-profiles

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