Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 logo

What is REF2021?

The Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF2021) is the system for assessing the quality of research in higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK, undertaken by the four UK funding bodies.

The funding bodies’ shared policy aim for the assessment is to secure the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within UK higher education.

The purpose of REF is to:

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

For Scottish HEIs the selective allocation of funding is provided by the SFC through the Research Excellence Grant (REG).

All institutions taking part in the REF2021 are required to publish a Code of Practice.  Our Code of Practice includes;

Equality and Diversity

We've taken steps to make sure that equality, diversity and inclusion is at the centre of all our REF2021 work. This includes training for all those making selection decisions and providing equality checklists.