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

Late Summer 2022: Publication of evaluation outcomes 

Autumn 2022: Publication of final report  

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

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-elect, 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
Professor Sue ThomasChief 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).

Review: understanding perceptions of the REF

A large-scale review, commissioned by Research England on behalf of the four higher education funding bodies and published by RAND Europe, collected attitudes to the REF in real time as UK institutions prepared their submissions. It gathered views via a survey (with 3,000+ researcher responses), as well as focus groups and one-to-one interviews with researchers, research managers, and institutional leads.

The review also considered the impact of changes made to the REF since the previous exercise in 2014. Download the real-time REF review report (pdf).

Get in touch

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