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Research Impact: Strengthening the Excellence Framework

September 14 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Research Impact 14 September 2017

Phone Telephone: (0161) 376 9007 Book now Register your interest Previous event View Programme


Overview            View Programme

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.

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“The funding bodies conclude that the REF remains the most appropriate mechanism for continuing to support our world-class research base through selectively allocating funds and by providing robust reputational and accountability information.” HEFCE consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) was introduced to assess the quality of research in UK higher education institutions and inform the allocation of government funding for research. Preparations for next exercise comes at a time of radical reform in the UK higher education sector with, not only the independent review of REF, but a review of research councils, the higher education white paper and next steps for Teaching Excellence Framework, introduction of the apprenticeship levy, and departmental reorganisation of Whitehall responsibilities for universities and research. Further complications and uncertainties arise now that article 50 has been triggered and the UK government begins negotiations to leave the European Union. There could be significant implications for international collaboration, Horizon 2020 funding, and the mobility of staff and students. So how can universities and research institutions navigate the current reforms and choppy waters ahead and strengthen and protect the UK’s leadership in world-class research?

Key recommendations of the 2016 Stern Review included 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, the inclusion of all research active staff to support a more flexible research framework. The funding bodies have taken on board these recommendations and outlined their policy ambition for REF 2021 to secure the continuation of a dynamic and responsive research base within UK higher education. The consultation document makes clear that this will continue to be achieved through the threefold purpose of a future REF:

  • To provide accountability for public investment in research and produce evidence of the benefits of this investment.
  • To provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks, for use within the HE sector and for public information.
  • To inform the selective allocation of funding for research.

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 due to follow over the coming months.

Following the 2014 REF the government commissioned a UK-wide review of university research funding with the aim to cut red tape for a simpler, lighter-touch, system for the REF so that universities can focus more on delivering the world-leading research. In late 2015 Sir Paul Nurse’s independent report of the UK Research Councils, Ensuring a successful UK research endeavour, recommended a number of changes to research governance and structure to simplify transactional operations, better manage cross-cutting funding for interdisciplinary research and formation of overall research strategies and priorities for the UK. Also in 2015 The Metric Tide report identified twenty recommendations for further work and action by stakeholders across the UK research system including effective leadership; governance and management of research cultures; and coordinating activity and building evidence. Following the 2016 Stern Review the UK funding councils consultation was completed in spring 2017 with any amendments to the recommendations for REF 2021 set to be published and in place by the summer. This timely event will help support universities and research institutions in delivering world-class research and ensure they adhere to the developing assessment criteria.

Join us at Research Impact: Delivering the Excellence Framework to gain a greater understanding of the future REF assessment and submissions processes. Learn how to effectively measure and evidence impact with interactive, practical sessions on improving REF implications and interdisciplinary research.

Benefits of Attending          View Programme

  • Learn about the future direction for research funding and assessment as the government reviews of governance, structure and evaluation develop.
  • Practical advice and solutions to assist universities in improving the quality of REF submissions and interdisciplinary research for 2021.
  • Explore new models and future iterations of research performance and evaluation.
  • The impact of the Research Excellence Framework on organisational culture and how the assessment process will inform future submissions and assessment.
  • Learn how to best evidence impact, excellence and diversity across a variety of disciplines and research projects.
  • Examples of good practice and improvements for the next REF exercise.
  • Insight into the intended and unintended consequences of REF and how the next exercise will differ.
  • The future role of metrics and data in evidencing research impact and processes.
  • Assistance in developing the quality of research outputs and demonstrating originality, significance and rigour in applications.
  • How to evidence impact beyond academia in terms of reach and significance.
  • Practical ways of developing research strategies, support for staff and students, and delivering research infrastructures and collaborations.
  • How to benchmark outcomes from Research Excellence Framework assessments towards 2021.
  • Discover how new models of research, funding and collaboration can support excellence.
  • Take advantage of knowledge sharing, professional networking and contribute to wider thinking about higher education and research.
  • Gain the maximum number of 6 CPD points.

Please see Terms and Conditions.

Vertigo Ventures

Vertigo Ventures provides cutting-edge impact reporting tools and training services for research teams to enable them to support academics develop and manage their impact information for grant proposals and government quality reviews. VV-Impact Tracker the leading online SaaS tool developed by Vertigo Ventures and launched in 2014 with universities to help researchers and higher education institutions to identify, store, validate, and organise impact information and evidence from funded and non-funded projects. For more information, please email hello@vertigoventures.com




Oxford University Press


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

UKC_020Simon 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

Booking Information

If you would like assistance registering your place please contact Luke Boulter on 0161 376 9007 and we will be happy to assist.

Discounts for 3 or more delegates are available.

Want to pay by invoice? If you select your tickets and click on the green Register button. Once you’re through to the registration page, you can switch payment method from Credit/ Debit Card to Pay by Invoice– if you get stuck please call us on 0161 376 9007 and we will be happy to help.

Job titles include:

Academics, Analysts and Researchers
Business Development Managers
Chief Scientists
Clinical Sciences Directors
Commercial Liaison Officers
Director of Research and Development
Executive Directors and Chief Executive Officers
Heads/Deans of Science and Research Faculties
Heads of Research and Development
Heads of Research Networks
Heads of Funding
Heads of Policy
Heads of Technology Transfer
Heads of Knowledge Transfer
Information and Research Officers
Knowledge Transfer Managers
Managing Directors
Medical Directors
REF Managers and Case Study Writers
Research Directors and Associates
Project and Programme Managers
Scientific Advisors
Senior Scientists and Engineers
Senior Lecturers and Academics
Social Scientists
Technology Advisors and Analysts
Venture Capitalists

Manchester Conference Centre
Sackville Street
M1 3BB

Hotel 1:
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Please enter the code ‘DELEGATE’ in order to receive this rate for events organised by Open Forum Events only. Please see the link below: http://www.manchesterconferencecentre.co.uk/on-site-hotel-bedrooms/

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September 14
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
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Open Forum Events Ltd
(0161) 376 9007


Manchester Conference Centre
Sackville Street
Manchester,M1 3BBUnited Kingdom
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0161 955 8000