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The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a research impact evaluation of British higher education institutions. It is the successor to the Research Assessment Exercise and it was first used in 2014 to assess the period 2008–2013. REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies: Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE).

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  • The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a research impact evaluation of British higher education institutions. It is the successor to the Research Assessment Exercise and it was first used in 2014 to assess the period 2008–2013. REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies: Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE). Its stated aims are to provide accountability for public investment in research, establish "reputational yardsticks", and thereby to achieve an efficient allocation of resources. Critics argue, inter alia, that there is too much focus on the impact of research outside of the university system, and that impact has no real relevance to the quality of research. It is suggested that REF actually encourages mediocrity in published research, and discourages research which might have value in the long term. It has repeatedly been argued that REF does more harm than good to higher education. The next iteration of the REF was to be in 2021, continuing the previous assessment model of focusing on research outputs, research impact and research environment. However, the process has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (en)
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  • The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a research impact evaluation of British higher education institutions. It is the successor to the Research Assessment Exercise and it was first used in 2014 to assess the period 2008–2013. REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies: Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE). (en)
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  • Research Excellence Framework (en)
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