Research Impact: Ready for REF 2021

  • Wednesday, 02 October 2019
  • Ambassadors Hotel, Bloomsbury, London
  • 09:25 - 15:30
  • Overview

The second round of the Research Excellence Framework, the UK's system for assessing the excellence of research in domestic higher education institutions, will be conducted in 2021. Since the first round of assessment in 2014, the REF has been developed in order to ensure that the exercise provides accountability for public investment in research and evidence of its benefit as well as further emphasising the importance of environments that support research. Ready For REF 2021 will deliver comprehensive, practical insights to assist in delivering high-quality outputs, measuring impact and nurturing research environments.

The agenda includes presentations designed to help higher education institutions improve outputs, processes, codes of practice and interdisciplinary research for REF 2021 submissions. Looking further afield, the conference will explore how clusters of universities are forming to enhance regional research capabilities and how domestic political uncertainty will impact the UK's collective research output and international contention.           

  • Confirmed Speakers

Event Sponsors

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address

  • Aaron Porter, Governor, Goldsmiths University of London (confirmed)

Keynote Address

"Organ Donation Research Programme: Impact Case Study - Institute for Health Research, University of Bedfordshire"

Professor Gurch Randhawa PhD FFPH DL is Research Lead for the Unit of Assessment 3 (Health) for the REF and authored the world-leading submission for REF2014 that influenced the domestic policy change on the organ donation opt-in.

In the opening keynote of the conference, Gurch will demonstrate how research teams can develop good impact case studies ahead of REF2021.


In his presentation to delegates Dr Simon Kerridge will discuss how to develop the quality of research outputs and demonstrate originality, significance and rigour in REF applications.


Main Sponsor


Kirsty Allen, Head of Research Evaluation and Impact, REF Programme Manager, University of Oxford (invited)

REF2014 found that the University of Oxford has the UK's largest volume of world-leading research. The assessment panels rated 48% of the University's research in the 4* category; in addition to ranking first in 12 subjects for their volume of world-leading research  


Question & Answer Session

Professor Gurch Randhawa PhD FFPH DL, Professor of Diversity in Public Health and Director, Institute for Health Research (IHR), University of Bedfordshire (confirmed)

Dr Simon Kerridge, Director of Research Services, University of Kent (confirmed)

Kirsty Allen, Head of Research Evaluation and Impact, REF Programme Manager, University of Oxford (invited)


Coffee in the Networking Area

  • Tim Gore OBE, Chief Executive Officer, University of London Institute in Paris (confirmed)

Tim Gore OBE will focus minds on the impact of Brexit on collaboration between British and European researchers and - by extension, REF outputs - in addition to the regulatory environment in which the ULIP exists that makes it REF ineligible.


RAND Europe conducted a survey of researchers worldwide on their experiences with visiting or relocating to other countries for research-related purposes. The survey covered 2,465 respondents from 109 countries. It was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust on behalf of the international Together Science Can campaign, and supports the campaign's work to celebrate and protect international collaboration in science. Dr Susan Guthrie will present the findings of this work and its implications for the UK system and international collaboration/recruitment. 

  • Adam Golberg, Research Development Manager – Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham (confirmed)
"“Some of us are looking at the stars” – Thoughts on the Longer Term Implications of the new REF Rules"

We are all in the gutter supporting REF preparations for this cycle while the rules are still being finalised, and rightly that’s taken up the bulk of available time, energy and focus. But the new REF rules (if fully implemented) have longer term implications for future research policy and strategy which perhaps aren’t being given enough attention.


Adam Golberg is Research Development Manager at the University of Nottingham. He tweets @Cash4Questions and blogs at


Question and Answer Session

  • Tim Gore OBE, Chief Executive Officer, University of London Institute in Paris (confirmed)
  • Dr Susan Guthrie, Research Leader, RAND Europe (invited)
  • Adam Golberg, Research Development Manager – Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham (confirmed)

Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair's Afternoon Address


The British Science Association produces research that addresses social injustices, influences policy and changes the public's relationship with science; putting it at the heart of culture and society - as well as engaging the next generation of researchers through initiatives like CREST and the Youth Industrial Strategy Competition.


Katherine will relay novel methods BSA employs to maximise research impact; including Media Fellows, a placement scheme allowing practising scientists, clinicians and researchers to work with professional journalists in leading media outlets like the BBC, Guardian and Londonist in order to develop a mutual understanding of how to better report on research, effectively communicate messages and engage the wider public in research through the media.


Case Study


Joseph Taylor, Senior Policy Advisor, The Royal Society (confirmed)


Question & Answer Session

Professor Karl Dayson FHEA, FRSA, Dean of Research, University of Salford (confirmed)

Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive, British Science Association (confirmed)

Joseph TaylorSenior Policy Advisor, The Royal Society (confirmed)


Chair's Closing Remarks and Event Close

  • Register for event

  • Practical advice and solutions to assist universities in improving the quality of REF submissions and interdisciplinary research ahead of REF 2021.
  • Explore new models and future iterations of research performance and evaluation.
  • Review 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.
  • Debate the impact of Brexit on the international viability of UK research and the impact it has had on EU academics working domestically.          
  • Insight into the intended and unintended consequences of REF.
  • 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.
  • Discover how new models of research, funding and collaboration can support excellence.
  • Sponsors
  • Venue
  • Featured Events
  • Downloads



Ambassadors Hotel, Bloomsbury, London

Ambassadors Hotel, Bloomsbury, London

Overlooking a quaint Dickensian lane in the Bloomsbury literary district, this 19th-century hotel with a grand exterior and a modern contemporary interior is a 5-minute walk from Euston tube and train station.

Featured Events

  • Research Impact: Framework for Excellence

    • 04 October 2018
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Research Impact: Strengthening the Excellence Framework

    • 14 September 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Research Impact: Delivering Excellence

    • 05 July 2016
    • 08:30 - 16:15
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Research Impact: Evidencing the REF

    • 14 July 2015
    • 08:30 - 13:30
    • King’s House Conference Centre, Manchester

Downloads & Resources

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