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REF Whac-a-mole

Thanks to the Stern review and subsequent proposals from Research England, research staff are anticipating a better deal from the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

Changes will include the absence of selectivity and therefore less stress; anonymity through the decoupling of staff from outputs; and a clear mechanism for staff with special circumstances to apply for concessions and exemptions.

Not unexpectedly, however, Playbook’s Law of Unintended Consequences has kicked in. As Research England comes to the end of the latest round of consultations, Team REF is discovering that adjusting the REF’s component parts is a bit like playing Whac-a-mole. When you try to fix one problem, others pop up.

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