Latest updates: REF 2029

Posted on: 8 December 2023 by Farida Vis in 2023 Posts

REF 2029 logo

Following the initial consultation on the FRAP proposals (Future Research Assessment Programme), the four funding councils issued an update on plans for the next assessment, with some significant amendments to the original proposal, most importantly that the next REF will be REF 2029.

The intention of the changes is to address concerns from the sector over fairness and complexity, and to allow greater analysis of practical issues such as the effective use of HESA data to determine volume, while ensuring a more comprehensive break between individual staff and unit submissions.

A separate consultation process is still under way concerning the People, Culture, and Environment (PCE) section.

At this point, the headline changes are:

  • The next assessment will now be REF2029, with results published December 2029.
  • An Open Access consultation is to begin in January 2024.
  • Some timetable changes tbc, including the recruitment of panels, expected to be around Spring 2024.
  • Decisions on the People, Culture and Environment element still to come, reflecting the live consultation and the commissioned scoping work.  The 25% weighting will be part of those decisions.
  • More exploration of how the HESA data can be used most effectively. 
  • There will continue to be no minimum submission of outputs, but re-introducing a maximum is an option being considered. This is to prevent units relying on a small number of individuals. While no details have been confirmed, it may be that the diversity of staff output submission could be addressed via Codes of Practice or UoA PCE statements.
  • Full portability will be maintained but knowledge outputs will require a demonstrable link to the HEI – this is in line with the ethos for career development / movement but is further detail will be required on practicalities.
  • Outputs (Creation of Knowledge and Understanding - CKU) from those on Teaching only contracts will no longer be eligible but those from Technicians will. There is no suggestion of removing their eligibility for contributing to case studies or narratives.
  • Sole-authored outputs (including theses) by PhD students are ineligible as outputs for the CKU sections.
  • Impact – narrative statement looks like it remains and 2* research threshold is confirmed as removed.  Ongoing consideration of the sliding scale for weighting of the impact elements and ICS thresholds.

The full announcement can be found at 

You can also follow @REF2029 on Twitter / X for the latest announcements.

We will circulate further details as they become known. A summary report outlining the details of these updates is due to be issued in Spring 2024.

Farida Vis, Nicky Schofield, and Chris Williams

Keywords: News, REF2029.