Facilitating world-class research
The provisions for equality and diversity for REF 2021 are summarised in the recent open letter from Professor Diane Berry to the higher education sector.
The University of Oxford’s REF equality and diversity measures will be overseen by the REF Equality Committee, chaired by Dr Rebecca Surrender, The Advocate and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equality & Diversity).
This process is available to staff at the University of Oxford (including employees of colleges) who may be submitted to REF 2021.
As part of the University’s commitment to supporting equality and diversity in REF, we have put in place safe and supportive structures for staff to declare information about any equality-related circumstances that may have affected their ability to research productively during the assessment period (1 January 2014–31 July 2020), and particularly their ability to produce research outputs at the same rate as staff not affected by circumstances.
All eligible staff with significant responsibility for research must be submitted to REF 2021. The University has set out how it will determine staff eligibility in its code of practice. Staff will be notified if they are included in the submission in early 2020. Ahead of this notification, the declaration of circumstances is available to all academic staff. Declaration of circumstances is not a factor in determining eligibility.
The purpose of collecting this information is threefold:
If your ability to research productively during the assessment period has been constrained due to one or more of these circumstances, you are requested to complete the declaration form.
Further information can be found in paragraph 160 of the Guidance on submissions (REF 2019/01).
Completion and return of the form is voluntary, and individuals who do not choose to return it will not be put under any pressure to declare information if they do not wish to do so.
This form is the only means by which the University will be gathering this information. We will not be consulting HR records, contract start dates etc. You should therefore complete and return the form if any of the above circumstances apply and you are willing to provide the associated information.
The University of Oxford has established a REF Equality Committee, chaired by Dr Rebecca Surender (The Advocate and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equality & Diversity)), to oversee the declaration of circumstances and the process for submission of reduction requests. Submitted declarations will be reviewed initially by a restricted number of staff from the Research Services REF team and the Equality and Diversity Unit, and declarations which require a judgement about the effect of circumstances may be reviewed by the REF Equality Committee. The REF Equality Committee will review all declarations which result in a request for reduction of outputs in assessment in REF 2021, as set out in the University’s code of practice.
If the institution decides to apply to the funding bodies for either form of reduction of outputs (removal of ‘minimum of one’ requirement or unit circumstances), the Research Services REF team will need to provide UKRI with data that you have disclosed about your individual circumstances, to show that the criteria have been met for reducing the number of outputs. Please see the Guidance on submissions document (paragraphs 151–201) for more detail about reductions in outputs and what information needs to be submitted. Submitted data will be kept confidential to the REF team, the REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel, and main panel chairs. All these bodies are subject to confidentiality arrangements. The REF team will destroy the submitted data about individuals’ circumstances on completion of the assessment phase.
The University recognises that staff circumstances may change between completion of the declaration form and the census date (31 July 2020).
If this is the case, staff should submit an amended form to provide the updated information.
Completed forms should be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or a hard copy can be returned to Kirsty Allen, REF Programme Manager, Research Services REF team, University Offices, Wellington Square.