Skip to main content

Higher Education: Research

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 86711, tabled on 8 September 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to reform the Research Excellence Framework to (a) reduce levels of administration, (b) further incentivise collaboration and (c) focus on assessing groupings and teams.

Answered on

15 September 2020

As recently set out in the Research and Development Roadmap, the Government will be examining the mechanisms which we use to support university research in England and the incentives that these create within the R&D system, and we will work with the higher education sector in England to agree a set of reforms to support university research and knowledge exchange to become more resilient, more efficient and ensure better outcomes from public funding.

Research England, working with the HE Funding Bodies from the Devolved Nations, are conducting a thorough evaluation of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, including on the costs of the exercise and its incentive effects on research practice. The results of that evaluation will inform the design of future exercises, which will also be subject to detailed consultation with the university research sector.

Through this assessment and any subsequent recommended reforms, we aspire to implement a REF which helps progress to a system which is fair, unbureaucratic and rewards improvement.