Instructions for completing the Independent Researcher form

‌‌‌‌This form is to be completed by staff on Research contracts who have received an email requesting them to do so.


Please read the following instructions before completing the form.

  1. Please download the form hyperlinked here: IR Form and save it to your desktop. ‌
  2. You will receive a security warning, please choose "Enable content"
  3. It will ask you if you want to make the file a trusted document, please choose "Yes" to this.
  4. Complete the form and save it as a PDF to your desktop ensuring that your first initial and surname are within the end of the title, i.e. as "Independent Researcher Form_FINAL_<<Initial>><<Surname>>".
  5. Email the completed PDF form to NB. the macros within the document will not allow you to email the form as a Word document.  


The majority of new members of staff on research contracts in 2020 are unlikely to be eligible for submission for REF 2021. For advice and guidance, please contact your Director of Research as named in the email you received. For any technical queries relating to the form, please contact


The final dates in 2020 for submitting forms for March, May and July REF Eligibility Review Group meetings are as follows:

  • March 5th
  • May 5th
  • July 6th
  • September 4th


If you have any queries about the form or if you believe you should have received an email inviting you to complete this form please contact:


If you have previously received confirmation that you meet the REF2021 definition of Independent Researcher, you do not need to complete this form. Staff on Education and Research contracts automatically meet the REF2021 definition of having significant responsibility for research and Independent Researcher and do not need to complete this form.

Staff are being asked to complete this form if:

  • Additional information is required to decide if you meet the REF2021 definition of Independent Researcher;
  • You now meet the REF2021 definition of Independent Researcher but at the preliminary review stage in 2019, the University did not hold relevant information relating to the eligibility indicators e.g. you have recently received an award for which you are Principal Investigator (or Co-Investigator for Panels C and D);
  • You meet the REF2021 definition of Independent Researcher but you are a new member of staff who arrived after the preliminary review was completed.


If you are completing this form please include as much information as possible for the panel who may not be familiar with the nature of your research grant or fellowship type. Typically the panel will review your eligibility solely based on the information on your form.

For further information on the REF2021 definition of Independent Researcher and the criteria/indicators for determining REF Independent Researcher eligibility please see the UoE REF2021 Code of Practice or these summary slides: Research-only session – Independent Researcher Eligibility - July 2019.