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Invitation to make submissions to the REF

February 2013

Title:  Invitation to make submissions to the REF
To:  Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions 
Heads of HEFCW-funded higher education institutions
Heads of SFC-funded institutions
Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
Cc:  REF institutional contacts
Of interest to those responsible for:  Research Excellence Framework
Publication date:  27 February 2013
Enquiries to:  Anna Dickinson
tel 0117 931 7477

Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal,

Invitation to make submissions to the REF

1.         I am writing to set out the arrangements for making submissions to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Authorised submitters 

2.         Each institution’s submission to the REF 2014 must be made electronically through the online REF submission system. The submission system is now available and the deadline for submissions is noon on 29 November 2013.

3.         As head of institution, you must nominate two authorised submitters, of whom one will make your institution's submission. These individuals (one of whom may be you) should be authorised to make the submission on your behalf, and to confirm the accuracy of the data it contains. They should also be authorised to confirm that in preparing the submission, the institution has applied the code of practice on the selection of staff that has been approved by the funding body.

4.         To nominate two authorised submitters, please complete, sign and return the form at Annex A* by 5 April 2013. Forms can either be returned by post to the address above or scanned and e-mailed to

Process for making the submission

5.         When the final submission has been made it will be held at HEFCE on behalf of the four UK funding bodies. We will send an e-mail to both of your authorised submitters and to your institutional REF contact, to confirm receipt of the submission.

6.         If after submitting, but before the 29 November 2013 deadline, you discover any errors in your submission, your authorised submitters will be able to 'unsubmit' in order to correct data errors. The process for completing a submission to REF2014 is described at Annex B.

7.         All information in submissions must be capable of verification. The arrangements for audit and verification of submissions are available at

8.         In making a submission, your authorised submitter will be required to confirm that the funding bodies may use the data for assessment, for subsequent funding calculations and for publication. Details of how we will store and process the submitted data, including the confidentiality arrangements for panel members and procedures for excluding confidential or sensitive parts of submissions from publication, are available at

Collection of codes of practice and equality impact assessments

9.         Institutions’ codes of practice (COPs) on the selection of staff for the REF will be published as part of the submissions after the conclusion of the REF. Although all COPs have now been approved by the funding bodies, institutions may identify an exceptional need to enhance the procedures set out in the COP, or may amend some point of detail (for example, a change to committee membership) prior to the submission deadline. If making any substantive change to the COP, the institution must inform the REF team as described in

10.       To ensure that we publish up-to-date COPs, we will require institutions to provide us with the final version of their COP, suitable for publication, after submissions have been made in early 2014. The REF team will provide further details on the process for providing the final version.

11.       In addition, we request that alongside their final COP, all institutions provide us with a copy of the equality impact assessment (EIA) that they will be publishing. The funding bodies require all institutions to conduct an EIA on their policy and procedures for selecting staff for the REF, and expect all institutions to publish their final EIAs after the submissions have been made, as a matter of good practice.

12.       The EIAs will be used by the Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) to assist with evaluating the overall effectiveness of the equality and diversity aspects of the REF at sector level. EDAP will not make judgements or comment on individual institution’s EIAs. EDAP will report on the lessons drawn from EIAs at sector level, as well as individual staff circumstances and other equality and diversity issues, in 2015.

13.       If you have any queries about any of the information contained in this letter please contact

Yours sincerely,

Graeme Rosenberg

REF Manager

*Annex A was provided directly to heads of institution

Annex B: Summary of the submissions process

Download the Annex B: Summary of the submissions process as PDF (44 KB)Download the Annex B: Summary of submission process as MS Word (48 KB)