Birmingham Professional Event Recap: The REF, Impact and CoSS Support

Event date: Thursday 20th September 2018, 12:00 - 13:00

This Birmingham Professional talk, facilitated by Katharina Freise, CoSS Research Planning officer, Gemma Scott, CoSS Impact Development officer, and Beth Clewes, CoSS Impact Development officer, provided colleagues with an overview of the main areas of the REF.

Katharina highlighted that the REF is an expert review process that assesses the quality of research in UK HE institutions over a period of every 6 to 7 years, not mandatory, with outcomes providing benchmarking information.  There are 4 main panels:  A.  Medicine, Health, & Life Sciences  B.  Physical Sciences, engineering, and maths  C.  Social Sciences  D.  Arts & Humanities with 34 subpanels covering a Unit of Assessment.  The 3 components making up the REF are outputs (60%), impact (25%), and environment (15%).  Katharina detailed her role as Research Planning Partner, supporting CoSS’s preparation for REF submission and impact development including pipeline.  Katharina works closely with key individuals across both academics and professional services.  Katharina explained the importance of Impact with each 4* impact case study worth approximately 12.5 x 4* outputs, with greater weighting of impact in 2021 v. 2014.  The University of Birmingham’s target is 75% 4* quality with an aim to be in the top 10 among Russell Group institutions.  Impact is assessed against criteria of ‘reach’ and ‘significance’.  Impacts must be demonstrable and with well supported evidence. Gemma Scott and Beth Clewes gave detail about their roles as Impact Development Officers and how they support REF submissions.  Two CoSS impact case studies were used as examples including an example from CHASM and from Karen Rowlingson, Social Policy.

Quotes from participants

“This session helped me understand how the REF is organised at the University of Birmingham.”

“I wasn’t aware of the amount of support available.”

“Helpful presentation on the REF and how cases are categorised.”

More about the Birmingham Professional

Be sure to check out all forthcoming Birmingham Professional events from the College of Social Sciences.

  • Follow CoSS Birmingham Professional on Twitter at @CoSS_BP.
  • Find out about more courses on offer to support Professional Services staff from POD.

Would you like to see more Birmingham Professional sessions like this on offer, or do you have ideas for sessions that would be beneficial to staff? If so please let us know via email.