REF Code of Practice: preparing the institutional submission to REF2021

The approved Code of Practice is now available to read on our documentation page.

The funding councils require each institution that intends to submit to REF2021 to submit for approval an institutional code of practice on the preparation of the REF submission.  The code of practice needs to set out how the institution identifies eligible researchers, how it will select outputs and impact case studies, and how it intends to communicate its own criterial and working methods to its academic community.  In particular, the code needs to show how the submitting institution has embedded equality and diversity considerations into its REF preparations and how it will implement the REF measures intended to ensure that protected groups do not suffer disadvantage.

The REF team published final guidance on the next REF submission in January 2019.  The guidance on codes of practice ( ) sets out the funding council’s expectations and guidance around an institutional code of practice on the preparation of a REF2021 submission.

The REF code of practice is written for two main audiences:  it reassures the funding councils that we have robust and transparent processes for REF2021, and it informs the academic community of what REF means for them.  The funding councils require institutions to consult widely with the academic community and other stakeholders.  The draft of this code will be discussed by the Partnership and Negotiation Consultative Committee (PNCC) and will require approval from Senate and Court before it can be submitted to the funding council for approval.  A detailed communication strategy to accompany the code will be required and we will be working with Schools and Communications on developing this.

Codes of practice must be submitted to the REF team before the deadline of noon, 7 June 2019. The Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) will examine the codes and advise the UK funding bodies on their adherence to the guidance, prior to approval and publication. All submitted and approved codes of practice will be published before the submission deadline. The provisional publication date is December 2019

Further information about the REF is available at