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REF Individual Circumstances

Staff circumstances

As part of the preparations for REF 2021 the University wants to ensure that all staff who have had personal circumstances that have impacted in their ability to research productively during the REF period have an opportunity to have those circumstances taken into account.

We are therefore inviting all colleagues who have recently been confirmed as REF eligible staff to declare their circumstances for if they so wish.

It is really important that you notify us of any individual circumstances that apply to you, as this will allow the University to make informed decisions about any special allowances which can be made to reduce the number outputs (typically publications) we submit. Where appropriate it will allow us to make a case for the minimum requirement of one output per person submitted to be waived. Disclosing your individual circumstances will also ensure that you have the right support for your research endeavours.

Individual circumstances can include:

  • If you are an Early Career Researcher (started as an independent researcher on or after 1 August 2016)
  • An absence from work due to secondments or career breaks
  • Periods of family-related leave
  • Circumstances equivalent to absence, for example, disability, ill-health, injury, mental health, caring responsibilities

 Any information you tell us will be confidential and will only be seen by the REF Eligibility Review Group. You will also have the opportunity to have this information forwarded if you so wish

If you have any concerns or questions regarding this form, please contact the team at   

Individual circumstances process

Staff who are eligible for submission to REF2021 are invited to voluntarily declare relevant circumstances using the declaration of individual staff circumstances online form.

Guidance for filling out the online form can be found here:
REF2021 Guide for Filling In the Individual Circumstances Form

Guidance for Heads of Department, Directors of Research and Line Managers can be found here:
Leadership Guidance for REF2021 Individual Circumstances


REF2021 Eligibility Review Group membership

A dedicated REF Eligibility Review Group will oversee the review of the forms and using the information provided will inform UoAs of qualifying output reductions. It may be necessary to request further information or clarification from an individual, the disclosure of any further information will also be on a voluntary basis. 

Any information disclosed will only be seen by the REF Eligibility Review Group. No information will be passed to Colleges or line managers.

The REF Eligibility Review Group will meet periodically and consists of the following members:

  • Linda Peka (Chair) – Deputy Registrar, Chair of the University Inclusivity Group
  • Professor Andrew McRae – Dean of the Doctoral College 
  • Dorcas Cowan – Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager
  • Andrew Johnson – Assistant Director (HR Policy & Reward)
  • Professor Annette Broderick – Academic Member 
  • Professor Laura Salisbury – Academic Member 
  • Professor Obi Ukoumunne – Academic Member 
  • Professor Pete Vukusic – Academic Member 
  • Drs Astrid Wissenburg - Director of Research Services

 Eligibility Review Group Secretariat:

  • Kerry Hope - Deputy REF Manager
  • Dr Ruth Cooper - REF Policy Officer (Individual Circumstances)
  • Dr Sumi David - Head of Research and Impact (Policy & Performance)/REF Manager