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Analysis of the REF 2014 panel membership highlighted that some limited progress had been made in improving the representativeness of the membership since the 2008 RAE. At the end of the 2014 exercise, EDAP produced a final report on the equality and diversity aspects of the REF.

In response to these findings and recommendations, we have implemented the following measures to improve the representativeness of the panels for REF 2021:

  • Mandatory, bespoke equality and diversity briefings and unconscious bias training will be provided for panellists involved in selection decisions.
  • Equality and diversity monitoring data will be collected anonymously for all applicants and nominees for panel membership through an online form, to compare the representativeness of the pool of applicants and nominees with the appointed panels.
  • Data will be made available to nominating bodies on the current representation of protected groups among UK academic research staff and guidance provided on how to approach sensitively increasing representativeness in nominations.
  • Nominating bodies will be required to submit information about how equality and diversity issues were taken into account in putting forward nominations.
  • The main and sub-panel chairs will also be provided with data on the current representation of protected groups among UK academic research staff, as well as anonymous data on the representation of these groups among nominees to the panel. This data, along with data on the representation of protected groups on the appointed panels, will be published at main panel-level.

Further guidance for nominating bodies on equality and diversity is set out at Annex C to ‘Roles and recruitment of the expert panels’ (REF 2017/03).