How does Covid-19 affect REF 2021?
Research England has announced that REF 2021 will be delayed in light of Covid-19. The original submission date of 27 November 2020 will no longer apply, and a new submission date will be announced, following consultation with the sector, with eight months’ notice. This is not an eight month delay, and the new submission date could be any time from January 2021 onwards. Research England does not plan to cancel the REF exercise.
Internal REF preparations at Queen’s are continuing as planned, with appropriate delays to deadlines to allow those involved in REF planning to adapt to the new working environment. Your primary point of contact for any REF queries should be your ‘REF Champion’. Contact details can be accessed here. In particular, REF Champions are currently working to update selected ‘outputs’ and develop further drafts of ‘environment statements’ ahead of summer 2020.
Particular challenges have emerged around REF 2021 impact case study development in some areas as a result of Covid-19. If you are a case study author who has been affected, and have not done so already, please contact your REF Champion and the relevant Faculty Impact Officer to discuss. The Impact Team will try to mitigate these challenges and support you in whatever way they can. If you are engaged in the frontline response to Covid-19, you do not need to get in contact – the Faculty Impact Officer(s) will manage case studies until it is appropriate for you to become involved again.
This guidance, and ongoing REF planning deadlines, does not apply to any individuals or UoAs directly involved in the response to Covid-19, whether that is as part of the medical response or otherwise. Clearly, those activities must be prioritised. Equally, there will be those who are directly affected by Covid-19 in other ways. While we are attempting to ensure we maintain momentum in our REF preparations, we are conscious and sensitive to the fact that there are more urgent personal and professional priorities at this time.