REF: A new opportunity to benefit from our strengths

Now that we have made our Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our researchers for their hard work and dedication over the past year in particular.

Indeed, I am continually both amazed and delighted to find that at Health Sciences we are a community of truly exceptional individuals, who challenge ourselves each and every working day to make a positive impact on people’s lives the world over. To say that we have made a profound and lasting contribution to global healthcare since we were last assessed would be no understatement at all.

For those of you who don’t know, the Research Excellence Framework replaces the old Research Assessment Exercise, and is the process through which higher education institutions are selectively allocated public money to facilitate further research.

Our submission is currently being assessed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, under the guidance of representatives from the four main funding bodies. As a result, I hardly need to emphasise the importance of this assessment in maintaining our reputation as a hub for world class research.

On the REF website it says: “The assessment outcomes provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks” and I could not agree more with this statement.

That’s why, since the last Research Assessment Exercise in 2008, we have never taken our collective eye off the ball: always striving to produce research of the kind of quality and utility that is consistent with our proud tradition for research excellence. Now marks the culmination of all that hard work.

One aspect about the new REF regime that is particularly advantageous for us at Health Sciences is the assessment of impact, which encompasses the effect of research on culture, society, the economy, and most importantly for us, public policy and quality of life.

I warmly welcome the inclusion of this new assessment component, which is, after all, a fundamental driver for us. Just a cursory glance at our research will tell you that we place impact on public policy and quality of life right at the very top of our research agenda.

Of course, we could not continue to make the same level of impact without continued funding, which is why this is such a big moment. However, I am content that we have followed the process faithfully and trust that the value of our research activities will be abundantly clear.

Here at Health Sciences we have both the tools and the talent to go on achieving great things in the future, and at the risk of repeating myself, I thank our entire research community from the bottom of my heart.

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