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Download the Analysis of REF 2021 panel membership

REF 2019_07 Analysis of REF 2021 panel membership (1.8 MB)

Executive summary


1. This report analyses the representativeness of the REF appointed panels across the protected groups, comparing the membership with the pool of nominees for panel membership, the expert panels in REF 2014, as well as the UK population of permanent academic staff and permanent professors.

Key points

2. There are a number of areas where the data reveal positive trends, including:

  • Female representation has improved significantly since the previous exercise. The proportion of appointed members that are female exceeds that within the wider academic population.
  • The representation of appointed members with a declared disability has also increased since 2014 and is consistent both with the pool of nominees and the current permanent academic populations.

3. There are some areas where the data show more limited progress. The data show that while the proportion of those from BME backgrounds in the pool of nominees is roughly consistent with population of permanent professors, it is lower than the proportion in the permanent academic population. When combined with a decrease in proportion between nominees and appointees, this results in decreased representativeness in comparison with both populations. This suggests further work is required to increase the representation of those from BME backgrounds both in the pool of nominees and in the appointed panel membership.

4. Based on these findings, there are a number of steps that the funding bodies will take to improve further the representativeness of the REF 2021 panels. These include adjustments to both the nominations and the selection processes, which the funding bodies will put into practice ahead of the second round of recruitment in 2020.

5. This report should be read together with EDAP’s ‘Review of nominating bodies’ equality and diversity templates’, which includes recommendations on how to improve the nominations process in the recruitment of assessment phase members in 2020.