The results of the funding councils’ survey of submission intentions for the 2014 REF, published today, suggest that 54,269 academics will be submitted, compared with 52,401 submitted to the 2008 RAE. This amounts to a rise of 3.6 per cent.
The largest rise - 10.6 per cent - is predicted in engineering and physical science subjects.
Submissions from social sciences are also set to rise by 5.8 per cent. However, those from both the humanities and the life sciences are likely to fall - by 0.1 and 2 per cent respectively.
The survey of all 162 higher education institutions intending to make REF submissions was carried out at the end of last year to help the assessment panels recruit the appropriate number of additional assessors.
The figures represent institutions’ best estimates of how many academics they will submit, but final figures will not be known until after the submission deadline on 29 November.
However, Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said the figures “indicate clearly that higher education institutions continue to attach importance to identifying all of the excellent research undertaken by their staff, and to having its excellence validated through robust expert review”.
Last week the Higher Education Statistics Agency announced that, within a week of the publication of the REF results in December 2014, it will publish statistics on the number of eligible staff in each REF unit of assessment.