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Research culture and the REF

Changes to Research Excellence Framework highlight the need for conversations on culture, says Yolana Pringle

If there’s one buzzword in the research sector, it’s culture. While countless organisations and activists have been working to address specific aspects of research culture—bullying and harassment, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), professional and career development, research integrity, to name a few—the grouping of these issues under the collective banner of ‘research culture’ is hardly more than five years old.

Spurred by Research England’s Enhancing Research Culture fund, the concept of research culture has been gaining ground in higher education institutions (HEIs), many of which have developed action plans and initiatives and created leadership positions to improve their research cultures. UKRI’s State of the Nation on Research Culture research project, which we are working on, is designed to create a map of these research culture initiatives.

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