Future Research Assessment Programme

This information is hosted by Jisc on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies.

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:

This programme of work is expected to conclude by late 2022.

  • Department for the Economy logo
  • Research England logo
  • Scottish Funding Council logo
  • Wales Funding Council logo

Future Research Assessment Programme timetable

Present – end 2022: Evaluation of REF 2021 (commissioned work and internal analyses) 

May 2021: Launch of Future Research Assessment Programme 

Summer 2021: Early sector engagement activities 

November 2021: Publication of Real-time REF review 

November 2021: Gathering institutional and individual feedback on REF 2021 

Early Spring 2022: Consultation on future research assessment exercises (formal survey and engagement activities) 

12 May 2022: Announcement of REF 2021 results

Autumn/Winter 2022: Publication of metrics reports

Winter 2022/23: Publication of REF 2021 EDI analyses

Late Spring 2023: Publication of initial decisions

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.

Find out about the evaluation activities.

International advisory group

An international advisory group will advise the funding bodies in their evaluation and consultation activities. 



Job title and affiliation

Chair: Sir Peter GluckmanPresident, International Science Council, New Zealand
Dr Lidia Borrell-DamiánSecretary general, Science Europe
Dr Chonnettia JonesVice president, Research, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
Professor Erika Kraemer-MbulaProfessor of economics and Chairholder, DST/NRF/Newton Fund Trilateral Chair of Transformative Innovation, the 4th Industrial Revolution and Sustainable Development, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg
Professor Jane OhlmeyerErasmus Smith’s Professor of modern history (1762), Trinity College Dublin and Chair of the Irish Research Council
Dr David PhippsAssistant VP Research Strategy & Impact, York University and Director of Research Impact Canada
Dr Kirsty SalmonVP advanced bio and physical sciences for low carbon energy, BP
Judi ZielkeChief executive officer, Australian Research Council

See the group's draft terms of reference (pdf).

Programme board

A programme board made up of senior representatives from the four funding bodies will have oversight over this bold and ambitious programme. See the board's terms of reference (pdf).

Designing the UK’s future research assessment system

To help shape the Future Research Assessment Programme, the funding bodies held a consultation asking the purposes of a future exercise, the principles that should guide its development, and the assessment criteria and processes.

Find out more about the consultation

Open access

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.

Get in touch

For general enquires please email researchpolicy@re.ukri.org