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Executive summary


On 31 July 2020, the REF exercise was formally restarted after being paused in March 2020 due to COVID-19. In light of the ongoing disruption the funding bodies expect due to COVID-19, this document provides advice on contingency planning that HEIs may wish to implement in order to minimise further disruption to the preparation of REF submissions, making REF submissions in the submission system, and responding to audit queries during the assessment phase.

Key points

This document provides advice on contingency planning for the following areas:

  • The submission of physical outputs
  • Key staff members within HEIs
  • Remote access to required systems
  • On-site access

HEIs may wish to implement the advice where appropriate and possible, in order to minimise disruption to submissions and other elements of the REF exercise.

Further contingency guidance will be made available in autumn 2020 when more evidence about the scale and nature of COVID-19 effects on HEI preparations and submissions in the lead up to the 31 March 2021 submission deadline is available.

Action required

This document is for information.