The emerging shape of REF 2028

A forum hosted by UCL, Foundation for Science and Technology (FST) and RoRI, in partnership with Research England

Digesting, debating and delivering the outcomes of the UK’s Future of Research Assessment Programme

Since 1986, UK universities have lived through eight cycles of national research assessment. Over that time, the purposes and methods of assessment have evolved and become more complex. The last Research Excellence Framework—REF 2021—involved 157 institutions submitting over 185,000 research outputs and 6,700 impact case studies from 76,000 staff.

Now the initial rules have been published for the 2028 REF, with some significant changes in the design of the exercise, and a sharper focus on the people, cultures and environments that underpin a vibrant and sustainable research system.

With moves towards responsible research assessment gaining momentum across the global research community, the next REF is an important opportunity to reshape incentives within the UK research system and look afresh at what should be recognised and rewarded.


The Speakers

Welcome and introductory remarks

  • Prof. Geraint Rees, Vice-Provost for Research, Innovation & Global Engagement, UCL

Part 1: Where next for the REF?

  • Chair: Lord Willetts, Chair, Foundation for Science and Technology and former Minister for Universities and Science
  • Redesigning assessment: outcomes of the FRAP and next steps — Prof. Dame Jessica Corner, Executive Chair, Research England
  • Purposes, priorities and pillars of REF 2028 — Dr Steven Hill, Director of Research, and Dr Catriona Firth (Associate Director for Research Environment), Research England
  • Perspective from the International Advisory Group — Sir Peter Gluckman, Chair FRAP IAG and President, International Science Council
  • A view from CoARA — Dr Elizabeth Gadd, Vice-Chair, CoARA and Loughborough University
  • Q&A and discussion

Part 2: The formative role of REF in UK research culture

  • Chair: James Wilsdon, Director, RoRI & Professor of Research Policy, UCL
  • Panel (opening statements, followed by questions from participants)
  • Prof. Louise Bracken, PVC for Research & Knowledge Exchange, Northumbria University (TBC)
  • Diego Baptista, Head of Research Funding & Equity, Wellcome
  • Prof. Simon Hettrick, University of Southampton and Chair, The Hidden REF
  • Emma Todd, Director of Research Culture, UCL