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:

UK higher education funding bodies

Research England logo
Scottish funding council logo.
Welsh funding council logo.
Department for the economy logo.

Development timetable for Research Excellence Framework 2028

Summer 2023: Initial decisions consultation; launch commissioned work on people, culture and environment indicators 

Autumn 2023: Initial decisions consultation closes (6 October 2023); open access consultation; publish further decisions on REF 2028; recruit committee chairs

Winter 2023-24: Invite nominations for panel members; appoint panels 

Spring 2024: Publish open access requirements; panels meet to develop criteria 

Summer/Autumn 2024: Publish draft guidance; consultation on panel criteria

2025: Complete preparation of submission systems 

2027: Submission phase

2028: Assessment phase

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2028 update November 2023

The funding bodies have provided an update on current activity and next steps in development of REF 2028.

Read the update

Initial decisions

The funding bodies have published key decisions on the high-level design of the next research assessment exercise and outlining issues for further consultation. These decisions represent a shift towards a broader and more holistic approach to research assessment.

Find out about the initial decisions and how to engage with the consultation.

People, culture and environment

The funding bodies are inviting written comments on the assessment of people, culture and environment element in REF 2028. This coincides with the launch of a tender for work to develop the indicators to be used in this assessment.

Find out more about people, culture and environment in REF 2028.

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

This group of international experts in different aspects of research assessment provided advice to the future research assessment programme board, focussing on the general principles of research assessment and developing specific recommendations relevant to the future nature of the Research Excellence Framework.

Find out more about the international advisory group.

Equality, diversity and inclusion in research assessment

The funding bodies have a clear aim to embed and support equality, diversity and inclusion in the research ecosystem through the future research assessment framework.

Find out more about the activity undertaken to support this.

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.