This details our work in establishing support structures for staff to declare information about any individual circumstances that may have affected their ability to research productively during the REF 2021 assessment period
As part of the University’s commitment to supporting equality, diversity and inclusion in REF 2021, safe and supportive structures were put in place for staff to declare information about any individual circumstances that may have affected their ability to research productively during the REF 2021 assessment period (1 January 2014 – 31 July 2020), and particularly their ability to produce the same quantity of research outputs as staff not affected by circumstances. A detailed description of the process for supporting staff with individual circumstances can be found in section 4 of the University's REF 2021 Code of Practice.
Examples of the individual circumstances for which a reduction in outputs may be permitted for REF 2021 are given below:
- Qualifying as an Early Career Researcher (staff who started their careers as independent researchers on or after 1 August 2016)
- Absence from work due to secondments or career breaks
- Qualifying periods of family-related leave
- Qualifying as a Junior Clinical Academic
- Circumstances with an equivalent effect to absence, such as ill health, disability, caring responsibilities and gender reassignment that require a judgement about the appropriate reduction in outputs
All staff on 'teaching and research' contracts, and all staff on 'research-only' contracts who met (or provisionally met) the REF definition of an independent researcher, were invited to complete an Individual Staff Circumstances Disclosure Form (alternate formats were available). Completion of this form was entirely voluntary. Staff were encouraged to read the Privacy Notice relating to the Individual Staff Circumstances Disclosure Form prior to the completion of the form. A detailed guidance document, based on the REF 2021 Code of Practice, was also produced and made available to staff to consult throughout the process. In order to ensure the appropriate level of confidentiality, the disclosure process was managed centrally by the University’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
The Individual Staff Circumstances Disclosure Forms were reviewed by the REF Staff Circumstances and Independence (SCI) Group, chaired by the Director of Human Resources, to determine the reduction in each individual’s expected contribution to the output pool for a Unit of Assessment.
The Staff Circumstances Informal Appeal Template was available for staff who elected to appeal against the decision of the REF SCI Group on their individual circumstances. Details of the informal and formal appeals processes can be found in section 4.6 of the University’s REF 2021 Code of Practice. Staff were encouraged to read the Privacy Notice relating to the Individual Staff Circumstances Informal Appeal Template prior to the completion of the template.
Who can I ask for advice?
Queries about the individual circumstances process can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should you wish to have a confidential discussion in person, please contact either:
- Ajit Trivedi, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
- Dr Clive Randall, Research Policy Manager
- or your relevant Associate Dean for Research or Human Resources Officer