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Executive summary


This document describes the revisions to the timetable for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, following the period during which the exercise was on hold, and the changes and additions made to the guidance to take account of the effects of COVID-19.

Key points

The revised deadline for submissions is midday, 31 March 2021.

Changes and additions to the guidance are set out in relation to each element of submissions, including:

  • Removing the minimum of one output requirement.
  • Provision for submitting delayed outputs.
  • An extension to the assessment period for impact case studies.
  • Further guidance on the environment.

Action required

This document is for information, to guide institutions in preparing and collecting data for inclusion in REF submissions.

Further information

Further information about the REF is available at

Enquiries from members of staff at UK higher education institutions (HEIs) should be directed in the first instance to their institutional REF contact. These contacts for each institution are listed at under Contact.

Other enquiries should be addressed to