REF selectivity fears ‘prove unfounded’

Fears that universities would be more selective about who they submitted to the 2014 research excellence framework have proved unfounded.

December 5, 2013

According to funding councils, higher education institutions submitted 52,077 staff to the REF, the submission deadline for which was 29 November. This is only fractionally fewer than the 52,401 submitted to the 2008 research assessment exercise.

Academic numbers have grown during the intervening period, but only by just over 1 per cent. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, there were 179,040 academics in 2008-09, compared with 181,385 in 2011-12: the most recent year for which figures are available.

This means 28.7 per cent of academics have been submitted to the REF, compared with 29.3 per cent to the 2008 RAE - though the numbers released by the funding council are full-time equivalents, while the Hesa figures simply record the number of salaried academics both full and part-time.

The number of academics submitted to the 2014 exercise is just over 2,000 fewer than the 54,269 that universities said they would submit in the funding councils’ survey of submission intentions, the results of which were released earlier this year.

However, the numbers still belie fears that the removal of funding for 2* research would make universities significantly more selective than ever about who they submitted for assessment.

The funding councils have also confirmed that all 155 institutions that intend to participate in the REF made their submissions by the deadline.

Earlier this week Hesa announced that on 18 December 2014 it would release data on the number of staff submitted to the REF by each institution in each unit of assessment.

The REF results are due also to be published in December 2014, raising the prospect that league tables based on the results could be weighted according to proportions of staff submitted.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Reader's comments (1)

Pedant's corner: 'The REF results are due also to be published in December'- I think that should be December 2014. Interesting stats- 180,000 or so HE academics, about 29% of whom are designated by their institutions as 'research active'. What proportion of the 155 HEIs' websites claim 'world leading research' or 'research led teaching'?

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Reader in Politics and Policy

St Marys University, Twickenham



Professor of Anthropology

Maynooth University

Preceptor in Statistics

Harvard University

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Electrochemistry

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework