A huge thanks to all involved in our REF 2021 submission
By: Sean Armstrong
Last updated: Thursday, 8 April 2021
On 30 March, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), Keith Jones, wrote to all staff. You can read his email in full:
I wanted to thank everyone involved in REF 2021 at this very exciting moment, now that our REF submission is finally in.
It has been a monumental achievement of individuals, teams, and divisions across the University, who have worked so hard to get to this point over the past two to three years, with the past 18 months being particularly intense.
As a relative newcomer to Sussex, I have been impressed by the collaboration, dedication, and professionalism you have shown, and it has confirmed to me that indeed Sussex is a very special place.
As a research-intensive University, putting in our REF submission couldn’t be a more significant milestone as it affects the University’s reputation and future income, particularly as it determines the distribution of core research funding (‘Quality-Related’, or QR Funds) to UK universities.
Thank you to all our dedicated researchers – too many to name – but hundreds of people, pursuing a huge array of research – who have enabled us to submit what I perceive to be a high-quality REF.
None of this would be possible without the support of nearly every Professional Services (PS) division too – particularly the Research Quality and Impact (RQI) team in the Research and Enterprise division, who have planned and coordinated the majority of this work.
Different to our last REF submission in 2014, REF 2021 required universities to submit research outputs representing the work of all staff who are on a teaching and research contract and who have significant responsibility for research. This is so important for Sussex as it recognises the reality of a research-intensive university.
Another difference in REF 2021 is the greater flexibility in how many outputs are submitted per person (a minimum of one and a maximum of five outputs per person may be submitted), which while welcomed, has increased the volume of work required.
And Sussex’s REF Code of Practice, newly established in accordance with Research England’s requirements, sets out how our REF submission recognises and supports equalities and diversity in the research community.
While the REF submission is now in, the work is not quite finished yet. The team are working on some post submission tasks, such as getting all the hard copies to Bristol.
The results are not expected until April 2022 and when we get them it will allow us to make informed decisions and further alignment and resource prioritisation.
In the meantime, we have a stronger internal understanding of our areas of research strength and will continue to support and invest in areas of excellence over the next two years.
Everyone involved should feel really proud of this huge achievement, as I certainly do.