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Exploiting REF guidance will unleash sanctions

Image: Steven Hill [CC BY 4.0]

Universities caught playing the system in the Research Excellence Framework 2021 could face tough sanctions, Research England has warned.

Steven Hill, chair of the REF 2021 steering group and director of research at the funding agency (pictured), has responded to concerns that universities may exploit the new guidance regarding staff circumstances to deliberately reduce the total number of research outputs a unit is required to submit.

Speaking at a conference on the next REF held in London on 4 April, Hill said the sanctions would depend very much on the nature and timing of the complaint. “We have a number of things at our disposal around inclusion and exclusion of staff in the exercise right through to funding adjustments and we are happy to use all of those sanctions.

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