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The Senedd and the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

The UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a process of expert review that evaluates the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The Senedd is aware of what the REF means for researchers and their institutions, and is keen to support academics in their engagement.

The UK Parliament and the devolved legislatures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are keen to support academics to engage with their work. Since January 2018, colleagues from the UK legislatures have been working together to inform the development of guidance and assessment criteria for REF 2021.

This guidance seeks to ensure that the four UK higher education funding bodies - the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council, the Department for the Economy, NI, and Research England - and REF panel members have a clear understanding of what impact means for Parliaments and Assemblies across the UK.   

To inform the development of this guidance and assessment criteria, we produced a Briefing Note (PDF, 719KB) providing an oveview of research impact in legislatures. Key messages from this briefing feature in the guidance on submissions and panel criteria recently published by the four UK higher education funding bodies.

We hope to continue working together with the UK higher education funding bodies on this issue and will update this page with further information and updates on our work with the 2021 REF exercise, as it becomes available.


Academic research impact with the National Assembly for Wales: a new analysis - December 2018

Since 1986, higher education institutions across the UK have been evaluated for the quality of their research. For the first time in 2014, this national evaluation included the assessment of non-academic impact generated from the research. Higher education institutions submitted their evidence of research impact in the form of ‘impact case studies’, which are now publicly available as a searchable database.

Senedd Research has published a briefing paper which examines the impact case studies that clearly outlined engagement with the National Assembly for Wales at the time. The aim was to understand the routes for achieving impact with the Assembly (as submitted in 2014), and thus identify common mechanisms of engagement.

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