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Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, will chair the institutional environment pilot panel, which will pilot the assessment of the research environment at institution level. The environment describes the ‘setting’ in which research is conducted in institutions, and includes information about institutions’ research strategy, staffing and research training, activities and funding.

Professor Day said:

‘Building on my experience of chairing the Clinical Medicine panel for the last REF, I welcome the opportunity to assess the impact of institutional-level environment information with its potential to ease the burden of returns for HEIs.’

Dr Kim Hackett, REF director, said:

‘I am delighted to welcome Professor Day as chair of the pilot panel. His knowledge of institutional management, wide expertise, and experience of research assessment will be very valuable in guiding the work of the panel. This pilot will help our understanding of the ways and extent to which the institutional environment supports and influences research culture and the work undertaken by researchers. I very much look forward to working with Professor Day on this task.’

The pilot of an institutional-level environment submission will take place alongside REF 2021. Information about the institutional-level environment will be provided to the 34 REF sub-panels for context. It will not be formally scored, and the pilot assessment will not contribute to the outcomes of REF 2021.

The introduction of an institutional-level submission for the environment was a key recommendation of an independent review of the REF, led by Lord Stern. The recommendation sought to reduce duplication in submissions, enable the accurate representation of aspects of the environment that reflect institutional-level activity, and capture institution-wide strategic objectives.

Following consultation in 2017, the HE funding bodies set out their decision to pilot the assessment of the institutional-level environment alongside REF 2021.  

The pilot panel will report on the viability of and key considerations for inclusion of a discrete institutional-level assessment within future REF exercises. It will provide recommendations to the funding bodies and publish its findings in 2022.  

Expressions of interest for membership of the pilot panel are invited from any individual meeting the criteria set out in the person specification, and should be submitted by midday, Thursday 1st November 2018.


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