REF Accountability Review: Costs, benefits and burden

Expertise: Higher Education

Language: English

Publication date: 17th July 2015

This report presents the results of the REF 2014 Accountability Review, which has considered the costs, benefits and burden for HEIs of submitting to the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The review includes consideration of the new impact element of the REF, making use of RAND Europe’s parallel evaluation of the impact submission process published by HEFCE in late March 2015. It has sought to establish whether and where there has been any significant change compared with RAE 2008, as detailed in the report of the RAE Accountability Review (2009).

The review entailed a comprehensive analysis of institutional costs for a carefully constructed sample population of 20 UK HEIs, covering all staff-related costs and related expenditure, both centrally and at the unit of assessment (UOA) level. The cost analysis was informed by a survey of REF Managers to gauge the relative importance of different costs and benefits as well as a series of interviews with Pro Vice Chancellors (PVCs) for Research, or their equivalents, to obtain a more strategic overview of the submission process.