Privacy information for REF 2021

The Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR require institutions to inform their staff and other stakeholders as to how data about them, that are submitted to the REF, will be used.

Information may be shared with organisations that need it to inform the selective distribution of public funds for research and to carry out their statutory functions connected with funding higher education.  The information will be used to analyse and monitor the REF2021. This may result in information being released to other users including academic researchers or consultants (commissioned by the funding bodies), to carry out research or analysis. Those parts of submissions that contain factual data and textual information about research activity will also be published by UKRI on public webpages. Published information is likely to include textual information in which you may be referenced.

The information you provide to us will be held by the University of Aberdeen for the purposes of the REF2021 exercise and any future reporting and analysis of our research activity. Our legal basis for processing personal information is for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the University. Research is a core function of the University, and the information is required in order to allocate research funding in future. This meets the lawful basis described in Articles 6(1)(e) and 9(2)(g) of the GDPR, and condition 6 of Schedule 1, Part 2 of the Data Protection Act 2018.

Please see our privacy information for Staff and Non-Staff below, for detailed information on how your data may be used for REF2021.

Under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR, you have certain rights over the way your personal information is used. Details of your rights can be found on the University privacy pages.

If you have any queries or concerns about the use of your personal information for these purposes by the University or by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), please contact the relevant Data Protection Officer at the following addresses:

Data Protection Officer
University of Aberdeen
King’s College
Aberdeen. AB24 3FW
Email: dpa@abdn.ac.uk

Data Protection Officer
UK Research and Innovation
Polaris House
Swindon, SN2 1FL
Email: dataprotection@ukri.org

Privacy Notice, Staff

Privacy Notice for Staff

About the REF

The purpose of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF 2021) is to assess the quality of UK research and to inform the selective distribution of public funds for research by the four UK higher education funding bodies. The REF is managed by the REF team, based at Research England (RE), on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies. RE is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and under this arrangement UKRI has the role of 'data controller' for personal data submitted by us to the REF.

If you are a researcher who has been included as part of our submission to the REF 2021, we will send some of the information we hold about you to UKRI for the purpose of the REF 2021. Data we provide to UKRI will include details such as your name, your date of birth, research groups, contract dates and details of your research.

You can find further information about what data are being collected on the REF website, most information can be found in the 2019/01, 'Guidance on submissions' document.

Sharing information about you

UKRI may pass your data, or parts of it, to any of the following organisations that need it to inform the selective distribution of public funds for research and to carry out their statutory functions connected with funding higher education:

  1. Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE)
  2. Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)
  3. Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

Some of your data (Unit of Assessment, HESA staff identifier code and date of birth) will also be passed to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to enable it to verify coded data returned to it as part of our HESA staff return (see www.hesa.ac.uk). Data returned to the REF will be linked to that held on the HESA staff record to allow UKRI and the organisations listed above to conduct additional analysis into the REF and fulfil their statutory duties under the Equality Act 2010 (England, Wales and Scotland) or the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Northern Ireland).

UKRI and the organisations listed above will use the information to analyse and monitor the REF 2021. This may result in information being released to other users including academic researchers or consultants (commissioned by the funding bodies), to carry out research or analysis, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679). Where information not previously published is released to third parties, this will be anonymised where practicable.

UKRI will require that anyone who has access to your data, held in UKRI's records, paper or electronic, will respect its confidentiality and will only process it in accordance with instructions issued for the purposes specified by UKRI.

Parts of your data will be passed to the REF expert panels and the Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (whose members are independent of UKRI) to conduct a systematic evaluation of submissions, in accordance with predetermined criteria and methods. Panels will make judgments about the material contained in submissions and will not form quality judgments about individuals. All panel members are bound by confidentiality arrangements.

Publishing information about your part in the University submission

The results of the assessment exercise will be published by UKRI, on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies, in December 2021. The published results will not be based on individual performance and will not identify individuals.

Those parts of submissions that contain factual data and textual information about research activity will also be published by UKRI, on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies, and will be made available online. Published information is likely to include textual information including impact case studies in which you may be referenced. Your name and job title may be included in this textual information. Impact case studies and environment templates will be checked prior to submission to ensure that personal information (other than names and job titles) are removed.

UKRI will also publish a list of the outputs submitted by us in each Unit of Assessment. This will not be listed by author name.

Data about personal circumstances

If you are submitted with individual circumstances that allow a reduction in the number of outputs submitted, without penalty, some details of your personal circumstances will be provided to REF.

Personal circumstances may be voluntarily disclosed to your submitting unit, which could permit us to submit your information to the REF without the 'minimum of one' requirement (without penalty), or to submit a reduced number of outputs without penalty. Where either form of reduction of outputs is applied, we 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) and our Code of Practice 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 Equalities and Diversity Advisory Panel, and main panel chairs. All these bodies are subject to confidentiality arrangements. Submitted data about individuals’ circumstances will be destroyed by the REF team on completion of the assessment phase.

Unless redacted, the information to be published by UKRI, on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies, will include a single list of all the outputs submitted by the university. The list of outputs will include standard bibliographic data (including the author name) for each output but will not be listed by author name

Privacy Notice, Non-staff

Privacy Notice, Non-staff

This is a Privacy Notice for any third party (i.e. not a member of staff) providing information for use by the University of Aberdeen as part of its submission to REF2021. This applies to all information, including that relating to Impact Case Studies, which may be personal in nature.  This notice is designed to provide you with clarity on how such information will be used.

The information that you provide will be used to support the development and submission of the University’s return to REF2021. This may include the provision of information to external parties for the purposes of peer review in advance of submission, statements and data which may identify you. If any of these external parties are based outside the EU, any transfers of personal information to them will be carried out with appropriate safeguards to ensure the safety and security of your information

About the REF

The purpose of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF 2021) is to assess the quality of UK research and to inform the selective distribution of public funds for research by the four UK higher education funding bodies. The REF outcomes are used to calculate about £2 billion per year of public funding for universities' research and affect their international reputations. The results also inform strategic decisions about national research priorities. The next REF will be undertaken in 2021.

The REF was first carried out in 2014, replacing the previous Research Assessment Exercise. It included for the first time an assessment of the broader impact of universities' research beyond academia: on the economy, society, culture, public policy and services, health, the environment and quality of life – within the UK and internationally.

Impact is assessed through the submission of case studies, which describe the changes or benefits brought about by research undertaken by researchers at the institution. A database of case studies submitted in 2014 can be found here: https://impact.ref.ac.uk/.

Data collection

The REF is managed by the REF team, based at Research England (RE), on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies. RE is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and under this arrangement UKRI has the role of 'data controller' for personal data submitted by us to the REF.

You may have provided information for one or more impact case studies or environment statements as part of our submission to the REF 2021. These narrative statements may include identifying information such as your name, job title and organisational affiliation.

You can find further information about what data are being collected on the REF website, most information can be found in the 2019/01, 'Guidance on submissions' document. Annex G of that document sets out the data that we will be required to share with UKRI.

Sharing information about you

UKRI may pass your data, or parts of it, to any of the following organisations that need it to inform the selective distribution of public funds for research and to carry out their statutory functions connected with funding higher education:

  • Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE)
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)
  • Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

UKRI and the organisations listed above will use the information to analyse and monitor the REF 2021. This may result in information being released to other users including academic researchers or consultants (commissioned by the funding bodies), to carry out research or analysis, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679). Where information not previously published is released to third parties, this will be anonymised where practicable.

UKRI will require that anyone who has access to your data, held in UKRI's records, paper or electronic, will respect its confidentiality and will only process it in accordance with instructions issued for the purposes specified by UKRI.

Parts of your data will be passed to the REF expert panels and the Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (whose members are independent of UKRI) to conduct a systematic evaluation of submissions, in accordance with predetermined criteria and methods. All panel members are bound by confidentiality arrangements.

Publishing information about your part in our submission

The results of the assessment exercise will be published by UKRI, on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies, in December 2021.

Those parts of submissions that contain factual data and textual information about research activity will also be published by UKRI, on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies and will be made available online. Published information is likely to include textual information including impact case studies in which you may be referenced. Your name and job title may be included in this textual information. Other personal details will normally be removed. Impact case studies and environment templates will be checked prior to submission to ensure that personal information (other than names and job titles) are removed