Research Impact: Strengthening the Excellence Framework will explore the next steps and rules for the Research Excellence Framework in 2021, offering practical guidance on delivering high quality submissions across disciplines, institutions and projects.
The results of the next REF exercise will again be used to inform the allocation of government funding to universities for research, almost £2 billion of annual research investment. The previous exercise, in 2014, assessed nearly 200,000 research outputs and 7,000 impact case studies submitted by more than 52,000 academics in 154 institutions. Lord Stern’s independent review of the process for accessing university research was published in summer 2016 and new proposals are incremental, in recognition of the additional burden of any new processes. Key recommendations include a new institutional level assessment to reward collaboration on interdisciplinary activities; widening and deepening the notion of research “impact” to include influence on public engagement, culture and on teaching; and, perhaps the biggest shift, to include all research active staff and creating a more flexible framework to ease the pressure and simplify management. Will this encourage academics to research new areas and develop research activity on a longer time scale?
The Higher Education Funding Council for England, alongside the three funding bodies, have just concluded the consultation period on the Stern Review recommendations with the results due to be published in the summer of 2017. Further clarity on how research active staff will be measured and defined, the range and number of outputs per person required and which indicators in the new environment section are to be used will be set for REF 2021.
This timely event will help support universities and research institutions in delivering world-class research and ensure they adhere to the developing assessment criteria. The agenda includes practical learning sessions and leading stakeholder presentations designed to help higher education institutions improve REF implications, processes and interdisciplinary research for REF 2021 submissions.
Professor John Perkins CBE FREng, National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)
Until January 2015, Professor Perkins was the Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Prior to this he was Provost at the MASDAR Institute of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, leading the development of this new institution. Professor Perkins’ academic career includes service as Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, The University of Manchester; Principal, Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London and ICI Australia Professor of Process Systems Engineering, University of Sydney, as well as a period at the beginning of his academic career at the University of Cambridge. He has served as President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and as Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has worked in industry for ICI and Shell, as well as acting as a consultant for a number of international companies. With colleagues, he was involved in the start-up of two companies (PSE Ltd, ParOS) spun out of Imperial College London. In 2006 he was awarded a CBE for services to science and engineering.
James Wilsdon, Professor of Research Policy and Director of Impact and Engagement, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Sheffield
James Wilsdon is Professor of Research Policy and Director of Impact and Engagement in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield. He is chair of the UK’s Campaign for Social Science and vice-chair of the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA). From 2014-2015, he chaired an independent review of the role of metrics in the management of the UK’s research system, which published its final report as “The Metric Tide”. Building on this, he recently chaired an expert panel on “Next Generation Metrics” for the European Commission, aimed at informing the design and operation of FP9. Previously, James worked as Professor of Science and Democracy at University of Sussex and Director of Science Policy at the Royal Society. He is an editor of the Guardian’s ‘Political Science’ blog, on science and research policy. In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. You can find him on twitter @jameswilsdon.
Dr Simon Kerridge, Director of Research Services, University of Kent; Chair of the UK Association of Research Managers and Administrators
Simon is Director of Research Services at the University of Kent, where he is responsible for all aspects of the research support including pre-award, post-award, information, strategy, assessment and governance. He has over 20 years’ experience as a research managers and is the current Chair of the UK Association of Research Managers and Administrators. He is passionate about the development of Research Management and Administration as a profession in the UK.
Simon has served on a number of national initiatives, including for Research Councils UK, HEFCE, Universities UK, Jisc, and Vitae; most recently he was part of the steering group that produced The Metric Tide report. He has led a number of research management projects and spoken on these and many other RMA related subjects for various sector bodies and events including AUA, BUFDG, EARMA, EuroCRIS, INORMS, Jisc, Million+, NCURA, RCUK, RSP, SRA, UKCGE, Vitae and of course many times for ARMA. He holds a professional doctorate in electronic research administration.
Tom Frostick, Policy and Programmes Manager (Research & International), University Alliance
Tom is Policy and Programmes Manager at University Alliance with responsibility for research, innovation and international policy. He previously worked for the think tank CentreForum (now the Education Policy Institute) and as a civil servant in the Department for Work and Pensions. As well as influencing government, Tom’s work has featured in national and sector media, and has focused among other things on industrial strategy, student funding, skills investment and health education and research. He holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Manchester.
Dr Tim Horne, Head of Research Excellence, Coventry University
Dr Tim Horne has been a member of the senior team of Coventry University’s Research Office since it was formed in 2015. As Head of Research Excellence, his institution-wide responsibilities include REF preparations, research impact and research management information. During the first half of 2017 he led the University’s PGR support team on an interim basis; in this role, he had University-wide responsibility for recruitment and registry support for all PGR researchers.
During 2014, Tim co-led the major change management programme which implemented Coventry University’s £150M ‘Excellence with Impact’ research strategy, which has reshaped the University and driven forwards its research agenda.
From 2012 to 2013, he was seconded to the Vice-Chancellor’s office, and was a member of the senior team which delivered Coventry’s successful REF2014 submission.
Prior to joining Coventry University, Tim worked in industry and before that was an academic researcher in research-intensive universities.
Adam Golberg, Research Development Manager – Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham
Adam Golberg is Research Development Manager for the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham, supporting the Business School, Economics, and Geography. Previously he was Research Manager at Nottingham University Business School (2008-2016) and before that, Research Institute Manager for the Institute for Public Policy and Management at Keele University (2005-2008). He also serves on the East Midlands NHS Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Regional Advisory Committee, reviewing grant applications from a patient and public involvement perspective. He is a former Champion and Co-Champion of the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) special interest group on research development. He writes a blog on research funding and research policy issues at socialscienceresearchfunding.co.uk and tweets @Cash4Questions