REF 2021: Guidance Released

This afternoon HEFCE released the decisions on staff and outputs for REF 2021. Our very own Ruth Hattam was digesting the details over lunch and has come up with a useful bitesize summary. If that’s not enough REF for you you can always read the full thing (it’s only 19 pages):,2021/downloads/REF%202017_04%20Decisions.pdf

  • All staff with significant responsibility for research are returned to REF provided they are independent researchers.  As expected, institutions not going with 100% submission will be able to determine the criteria for identifying staff with significant responsibility.  My reading of the guidance is that it will be possible to consider different criteria for different UoAs, although the rationale for all decisions will need to be captured in the Code of Practice (guidance summer 2018, provisional submission spring 2019).  Further guidance on significant responsibility criteria (determined in conjunction with main panels) will form part of the Guidance on submissions/Panel criteria – the final versions of which will not be available until January 2019.
  • Independent researcher criteria will build on REF 2014 definition and will be worked on with the main panels.
  • ORCID strongly encouraged by not mandated.
  • Average number of outputs is 2.5 per FTE submitted.
  • Minimum of one, maximum of 5 outputs per member of staff (this is a soft 5 with no limit on co-authored papers).  Staff can be returned with zero outputs through an individual circumstances process.  The unit of assessment can also make  case for ‘unit circumstances’ to reduce the overall number of outputs required.
  • Impact case studies will be 2 for up to 15 FTE, then one for each additional 15 FTE (up to 105 FTE when one additional per 50 FTE)
  • Staff census date is 31 July 2020.  Hefce intend to work with HESA ‘to enable close alignment between the information collected and the staff record and the submission requirements of REF.
  • Output portability is the simplified model (i.e. outputs can be returned at current and previous institution – with some caveats).  (85% of the 157 respondents supported this model).
  • The original Open Access requirement (i.e. deposit within 3 months of date of acceptance) will be implemented from April 2018, although there will be the opportunity to record exceptions when deposit is 3 months after publication.



Tooltime at Teatime with Peanut

Peanut take a different approach to doing things… a Participatory Approach. This is a unique set of skills and activities we use to include and also enthuse people. Whether its events, away-days, training courses, community appraisals, action planning or research projects, people enjoy taking part.

The Peanut Participatory Approach works because it’s a rigorous, systematic process of including people to find solutions, make decisions and achieve improvement.

Tooltime…is a series of one hour sessions developed and hosted by Peanut and Straightforward.

Tooltime is a no charge event, running for an hour on a Monday afternoon. It gives you the chance to have a go at some participatory ‘tools’ and discuss how they could work in your own projects, teaching or research. It’s also an opportunity to meet other people and have little bit of free training.

What’ll be happening at Tooltime?

We’ll try out a couple tools together; some tried and tested favourites and some that are completely new to us. There’ll be room along the way for a drink, a biscuit and a bit of networking. In time, we’ll be putting together an online resource to include all of the tools we’ve tried out.

Why come to Tooltime?

To meet the Peanut team (Catherine and Ross), have a biscuit, a worthwhile break and take time to have a go at something a bit different, useful and new. While there’s no budget for Tooltime and you’ll have to bring your own drinks, we will provide some biscuits or snacks.

2012 Dates, Times  and Venues

The first few Tooltime sessions are on Mondays for, for no other reason than things aren’t usually on a Monday. But if it doesn’t work we’ll change it. No need to book, just turn up.

  •  22nd October, Coach Lane Campus, G109 – ‘It’s not a Venn’, to explore relationships using two criteria. Used for stakeholder analysis.
  • 5th November, City Campus West, Ellison A008 – ‘Flow Diagrams’, to look at the different stages of a process, causes and effects.
  • 12th November, City Campus West, Lipman 027 – ‘Yes, No  Decision Tree’, a simple but structured way of making decisions together.
  • Date TBC, Campus TBC, Room TBC – ‘A take on Ishikawa’s Fishbone’ to look at causes, root causes and effects.

If you’d like more information about Tooltime or Peanut contact Catherine Butcher on 0191 227 3848 or or see our website at