Privacy notice

Privacy notice for REF2021 Non-staff Data Collection

Updated on 23 March 2022

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About the REF

The purpose of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF2021) is to assess the quality of UK research and to inform the selective distribution of public funds for research. The REF outcomes are used to calculate about £2 billion per year of public funding for universities’ research and affect their international reputations. The results also inform strategic decisions about national research priorities.

The next REF will be undertaken in 2021 and includes an assessment of the broader impact of universities’ research beyond academia within the UK and internationally. Impact is assessed through the submission of case studies, which describe the changes or benefits brought about by research undertaken by researchers at the institution. A database of case studies submitted in 2014 can be found online.

The REF is managed by the REF team, based at Research England (RE), on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies. RE is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and under this arrangement UKRI has the role of 'data controller' for personal data submitted by us to the REF.

Your data

You may have provided information for one or more impact case studies or environment statements as part of our submission to the REF 2021.

The personal data used for these purposes will normally comprise professional contact information such as:

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Organisational affiliation

The legal basis for processing this information is the performance of a task carried out in the public interest.

Professional contact information will not normally comprise special categories of personal data, unless those professional details concern membership or representation of a trades union, political party or religious or philosophical body. The legal basis for processing this special category data is that it is manifestly made public by you (e.g. it is part of your public professional profile).

Sharing information about you

In 2021 we will send information about impact case studies and environment statements to UKRI for the purpose of the REF2021. The information will not be in coded form and your name - and details such as your job title and organisational affiliation - may be provided in these narrative statements.

Publishing information about your part in our submission

The results of the assessment exercise will be published by UKRI, on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies, in April 2022.

Those parts of submissions that contain factual data and textual information about research activity will also be published by UKRI, on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies, and will be made available online.

Unless redacted, the information to be published by UKRI is likely to include textual information including impact case studies in which you may be referenced. Your name and job title may be included in this textual information.

Your rights

Under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR, you have the right to see and receive a copy of any personal information that the University holds about you. Further information about the Act and GDPR, and guidance on making a subject access request, can be found online.

The University respects your rights and preferences in relation to your data. If you wish to complain about the use of your information or make a request to update, access, erase or limit the use of your information, please let us know by emailing so that your request may be considered appropriately. Please note that your rights are limited in certain circumstances and we will explain that to you if applicable. You may also wish to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Information on how the University processes personal data under the GDPR can be found online.

The same rights apply to information held by UKRI about you. Further information about the Act and GDPR, and guidance on making a subject access request, can be found on the UKRI website.

If you have any concerns about your information being used for these purposes by UKRI, please contact:

  • Data Protection Officer, UK Research and Innovation, Polaris House, Swindon, SN2 1FL or email

Research and Innovation Services Office

Corporate information category Research support