The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It was first carried out in 2014, replacing the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
The REF outcomes are used to calculate funding for universities' research. Results are also used to inform strategic decisions about national research priorities. Results from the REF are important for:
- research funding (Research Excellence Grant)
- national and international league tables.
In June 2023, the four UK higher education funding bodies (Research England, SFC, HEFCW and DfE NI) published key decisions on the high-level design of the next research assessment exercise and issues for further consultation.
Informed by this consultation, further decisions were published in December 2023, with the key decision that there is an extension to the timing for the next REF exercise. The exercise has been renamed REF 2029 (as opposed to the original REF 2028) with results published in December 2029.
Previous REF and RAE results
You can find details on the University of St Andrews results from previous REF and RAE awards on the research excellence pages.