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UCU says REF postponement is opportunity to review research funding

24 March 2020 | last updated: 26 March 2020

The postponement of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) is an opportunity to reform how research is reviewed and funding is allocated, said UCU. The union welcomed the news that the 2021 exercise had been postponed, saying it was the only sensible move in the circumstances.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Postponing the 2021 REF was the only sensible move in the current circumstances. Rather than pressing ahead with a slightly tweaked timetable, the sector should seize this opportunity to review the current system and explore better alternatives.

'Universities' decisions about recruitment, or changes to staff terms and conditions, are often based on the dates established in the REF calendar. A delay of just a few months could affect thousands of staff, especially early career researchers and professional services staff with REF-related contracts.'