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What does the interim equality panel report tell us about the process for REF 2021?

Nicholas Stern wanted it to be a universal Research Excellence Framework, with institutions submitting all staff. The peer’s independent review, published in 2016, aimed “to put an end to game playing”.

But there were always going to be exceptions. Stern did not foresee the selection by the back door that would be allowed under the “significant responsibility to conduct research” exemption, which has enabled institutions to identify individuals who will not be submitted to the REF on the basis of their job description or workload allocation.

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