Impact

Information on the impact component of REF2021, including the relevant assessment criteria and FAQs.

The information on the impact component of REF2021 is taken from the Guidance on submissions (REF 2019/01) (GoS) and the Panel criteria and working methods (REF 2019/02) (PCWM) published by the REF team in January 2019. The documents were first published as drafts in July 2018 and underwent consultation before being finalised and published as Key documents. References below have been updated and refer to the final guidance documents.  

Key documents from the REF2021 website

Guidance on submissions (REF 2019/01) PDF from the REF2021 website

Panel criteria and working methods (REF 2019/02) PDF from the REF2021 website

 

Impact in REF2021

  Description Reference
Weighting 25% of outcome awarded to submission. GoS 26.b
Assessed on Reach and significance of impacts on economy, society, culture, public policy/services, health, the environment or quality of life. GoS 26.b
Number required A minimum of two case studies for the first 20 FTE submitted, with a further case study required per 15 FTE up to 160 FTE after which one further case study is required per additional 50 FTE. Informatics will likely return nine impact case studies. GoS 309
Period covered

Impacts: 01 August 2013 - 31 July 2020

Underpinning research: 01 January 2000 - 31 December 2020

GoS 312

Guidance on submissions (REF 2019/01) PDF from the REF2021 website

Detailed assessment criteria for impact case studies

  Description Reference
Reach

Reach will be understood as the extent and/or diversity of the beneficiaries of the impact, as relevant to the nature of the impact. Reach will be assessed in terms of the  extent to which the potential constituencies, number or groups of beneficiaries have been reached; it will not be assessed in purely geographic terms, nor in terms of absolute numbers of beneficiaries. The criteria will be applied wherever the impact occurred, regardless of geography or location, and whether in the UK or abroad.

PCWM 288
Significance Significance will be understood as the degree to which the impact has enabled, enriched, influenced, informed or changed the performance, policies, practices, products, services, understanding, awareness or wellbeing of the beneficiaries.  PCWM 289

Panel criteria and working methods (REF 2019/02) PDF from the REF2021 website

Starred level definitions for impact case studies

  General criteria from GoS annex A, table A3
Four star Outstanding impacts in terms of their reach and significance.
Three star Very considerable impacts in terms of their reach and significance.
Two star Considerable impacts in terms of their reach and significance.
One star Recognised but modest impacts in terms of their reach and significance.
Unclassified The impact is of little or no reach and significance; or the impact was not eligible; or the impact was not underpinned by excellent research produced by the submitted unit.

Guidance on submissions (REF 2019/01) PDF from the REF2021 website