About the programme
The Future Research Assessment Programme aims to explore possible approaches to the assessment of UK higher education research performance. It has been initiated at the request of the UK and devolved government ministers and funding bodies. This significant piece of work will be led by the four UK higher education funding bodies:
Development timetable for Research Excellence Framework 2028
Summer 2023: Initial decisions consultation; launch commissioned work on people, culture and environment indicators
Autumn 2023: Initial decisions consultation closes (6 October 2023); open access consultation; publish further decisions on REF 2028; recruit committee chairs
Winter 2023-24: Invite nominations for panel members; appoint panels
Spring 2024: Publish open access requirements; panels meet to develop criteria
Summer/Autumn 2024: Publish draft guidance; consultation on panel criteria
2025: Complete preparation of submission systems
2027: Submission phase
2028: Assessment phase
The funding bodies have published key decisions on the high-level design of the next research assessment exercise and outlining issues for further consultation. These decisions represent a shift towards a broader and more holistic approach to research assessment.
People, culture and environment
The funding bodies are inviting written comments on the assessment of people, culture and environment element in REF 2028. This coincides with the launch of a tender for work to develop the indicators to be used in this assessment.
Evaluating research assessment
From understanding how the current assessment system is perceived to reviewing the role of metrics, the funding bodies are undertaking a programme of evaluation activities.
International advisory group
This group of international experts in different aspects of research assessment provided advice to the future research assessment programme board, focussing on the general principles of research assessment and developing specific recommendations relevant to the future nature of the Research Excellence Framework.
Equality, diversity and inclusion in research assessment
The funding bodies have a clear aim to embed and support equality, diversity and inclusion in the research ecosystem through the future research assessment framework.
At the launch of the UKRI Open Access Review, the funding bodies agreed that any open access policy within a future research assessment exercise would seek commonality with the UKRI open access policy position.
It is the funding bodies’ intention that a UKRI open access compliant publication will be considered to meet the REF 2028 open access requirements without additional action from the author and/or institution. However, the funding bodies note that the scope of an open access policy for REF 2028 is much broader than the UKRI Open Access Policy and will consult with the sector before developing the full REF 2028 open access policy.
The funding bodies commit to providing appropriate notice of any new requirements and prior to the announcement of the new policy the REF 2021 requirements will continue to apply.