REF Code of Practice: preparing the institutional submission to REF2021

The revised 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 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 REF team published revisions to the REF timetable and guidance on 31 July 2020 ( ) to take account of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 restrictions on institutional REF preparations.  The guidance requires institutions to review what changes need to be made to institutional codes of practice to reflect the changed guidance.  The funding councils are planning to publish all institutional codes of practice in November 2020.  The revised Code of Practice (amended to include revisions to the submission timetable due to the impact of Covid-19 and to reflect changes to the role of the University's committee structure for final approval of the University's REF submission) was approved by the REF Steering Group in September 2020, and endorsed by the Senior Management Team in early October 2020.

Further information about the REF is available at