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Information for research users

This web-page provides information about the REF for 'research users': people outside of academia in the private, public or charitable sectors, who:

  • Make use of university research in their organisation or professional activity
  • Commission or collaborate with academic researchers
  • Or have been asked to participate in the REF in some way.

What is the REF?

The REF was the new system for assessing research in UK universities. The REF results are used to determine public funding for universities' research, and will affect their reputations. Through the REF, expert panels have assessed the academic excellence of research, as well as the impact of research beyond academia. The REF results will be published on 18 December 2014. For an outline of the REF, please read the brief guide, below.

REF2014: A brief guide for research users

 Download the REF Brief guide for users as PDF (110 KB)

How were research users involved in the REF 2014?

Research users were invited to become involved in the REF, either to:

  • Help provide evidence of impact: Universities requested research users to assist in providing evidence of, or to corroborate, the impact of their research.
  • Take part in assessing impact: Research users took part in the REF expert panels, to assess the impact of university research. 

Nominated research users were appointed to REF panels to act as assesors in 2013