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The final report of the Interdisciplinary Research Advisory Panel (IDAP) is now published on the Research Excellence Framework (REF) website. The report sets out key findings and recommendations from IDAP’s review of the measures that were put in place to support the submission and assessment of interdisciplinary research in REF 2021.

Drawing on insights from its work during the assessment, as well as feedback from the main and sub-panels, IDAP concludes that the measures ensured a clear focus on interdisciplinary research and supported equity in the assessment process. The measures included processes to identify and support the assessment of interdisciplinary research outputs, alongside additional roles on the expert panels to advise on these processes.

The report also identifies key challenges in implementation, including inconsistent use of an interdisciplinary ‘flag’ for outputs and disruption due to covid, leading to several recommendations for consideration in future exercises. These make clear the panel’s reflection on the ongoing need for interdisciplinary measures, to guard against complacency and ensure that the vital insights contributed by interdisciplinary research can continue to be confidently submitted and appropriately assessed.

The findings from this report will inform the funding bodies’ work on future research assessment in the UK.


  1. The REF was 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). REF 2021 was managed on behalf of the funding bodies by a UK team based at Research England.
  2. IDAP was appointed by the four UK higher education funding bodies to advise them on the development and implementation of measures to support the submission and assessment of interdisciplinary research. Further details including membership are available on the REF website under ‘Panels’.
  3. IDAP’s final report is available on the REF website under ‘Publications and reports’ from 07:00 on 30 June 2022