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Sweeney: Non-portable REF outputs need transition period

Moves to allow institutions to claim research outputs in the Research Excellence Framework once staff have left will need to be phased in, according to David Sweeney, head of research at the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Sweeney, who is the incoming chief executive of Research England, confirmed in a blog post on 20 July that the council “will implement” non-portability of outputs in the REF. However, he said that transitional arrangements would be needed to avoid unfair retrospective decisions.

The rules “must include some exceptions” to address concerns, Sweeney said. For example, early-career researchers have expressed concern that they would not be able to progress in their careers if they couldn’t offer any research outputs to new institutions.

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