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REF 2021

The Research Excellence Framework 2021

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK universities and higher education colleges and replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

The first REF exercise was run in 2014, and the next one takes place in 2021.

The next assessment was due to take place in November 2020, however, it has been put on hold for future notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

King’s will make an institutional submission to REF, which is broken down into disciplinary units known as Units of Assessment (UOAs).

The key purposes of the REF are:

  • To inform HEFCE’s selective allocation of funding for research (QR Funding)
  • To provide accountability for public investment in research
  • To provide benchmarking information for use in the higher education sector and for public information


REF 2021 Data Collection

King's will submit Impact Case Studies for assessment in REF 2021, including any data provided as corroborating evidence. 

To find out more about how we will be collecting and using personal data, or to review our data collection statement, please click here


REF 2021 at King's 


The REF 2021 Oversight Group (chaired by Professor Reza Razavi) has strategic oversight of King’s submission to the REF and is responsible for ensuring that progress is made, and to oversee and sign off arrangements for matters related to the university’s policy for submission. The Group reports to the Senior Management Team and to the College Research Committee.

Submissions to each of the four REF Main Panels will be coordinated through a Main Panel Co-ordination group, whose responsibility will be to determine the internal policy for submissions across all the Units of Assessment related to that Panel.

College Impact Committee

The College Impact Committee (CIC) brings together the expertise of academic and professional services staff across the College to support the development of research impact activities and to share best practice for impact development and evaluation in all research carried out at the College. 

The CIC supports the management, co-ordination and review of College preparations for the REF for impact.

The Chair of the CIC is the Dean of Research Impact, Professor Mike Goodman. Membership of the CIC includes Academic Impact Leads  for each faculty and the Professional Services Impact Leads.



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Preparing the REF Submission

King's preparations for REF 2021 are led by Professor Reza Razavi, Vice President and Vice Principal (Research), and co-ordinated by Jo Lakey (REF Delivery Director).

The REF team ensure that by November 2020, we are ready to submit staff, outputs, environment statements and Impact Case Studies to Research England.

The REF Delivery Director’s role is to oversee and lead on all areas of REF 2021 preparations, and ensure that appropriate advice, guidance and practical support is provided to UOAs.


The Chairs of the four co-ordination groups are:

Next steps...