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REF 2021 - Research Independence

Determining the research independence status of academic staff who are submitting to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.

Code Of Practice

As part of our REF preparations we will need to determine research independence of staff for two purposes:

Firstly, to determine which staff on Research Only contracts meet the research independence criteria and will be included in our submission.

Secondly, to determine which members of staff on Teaching & Research contracts achieved independence during the REF 2021 period and should be returned in our HESA Staff Return as Early Career Researchers (ECRs).

Each Faculty and the School has established their own Research Independence Panel; their members are listed below. The Panels will collect and review the information so that it can consider each case according to the REF guidance.

Full responsibilities of the panel are detailed in the Terms of Reference.

The Panels will assess:

a. If the member of staff meets the criteria of research independence

b. The date upon which they first met the criteria for the purposes of determining if they meet the definition of an ECR

The Research Independence Panel will make recommendations to the Staff Circumstances Panel.

The assessments of the Research Independence Panels will be communicated to the individuals concerned by 28 February 2020. If you believe that the Panel’s decision is incorrect, you can appeal this decision using the REF 2021 research independence appeal form.

To ensure consistency the Research Independence Panels will all be supported by the Project Manager (Research), Vice-Chancellor's Office.

Research Independence Panels

Engineering and Design

Humanities & Social Sciences


School of Management


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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