REF resources


The REF team's roadshow presentation from Michaelmas 2018 events, which summarises the draft guidance is available to download:

The final guidance on submissions for REF 2021 is available on the REF website.

This poster summarises the draft guidance that was out for consultation in November 2018: 



The REF team's impact roadshow presentation from Hilary term 2019 summarises the REF guidance on impact and contains links to useful contacts and resources. This resource has been updated to reflect the revisions to REF 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Resources and support are available to develop your impact through the following teams:


Divisional support is also available:

The Department of Education have developed an Impact & knowledge exchange toolkit.

Some may find the Impact literacy workbook developed by Emerald Publishing a useful tool in thinking about impact.



For REF 2021 it will be important to evidence the eligibility of impact case studies and their reach and significance. Please see our guidance for advice regarding evidence for your impact case study:

It is important to ask for the right things when requesting impact evidence. Our quick guide includes a data protection statement and is intended for use to either guide the writing of an impact evidence request, or to be attached to a request email:

If you are requesting that a collaborator or beneficiary act as a named contact to corroborate impact, you can use this guide:

When you have gathered evidence for your impact case study you can keep it securely on Symplectic Elements in the impact module. There is guidance available on how to record your impact case study evidence and link it to your impact case study on the Records of impact page.



A blank and editable impact template form is available on the REF website.

You can also download a copy of Annex G impact template with guidance:

Panel feedback from REF 2014 suggests that it is usually better if the researcher involved in the project writes up the impact case study. Impact case study assessment is a peer review process and as such, case studies benefit from having an ‘academic voice’. Panel feedback also put a lot of emphasis on having a strong coherent narrative linking the research and impact as well as the importance of providing verifiable evidence.

There is a lot of support available in divisional and public engagement with research teams. See the REF contacts page for details.



We have been busy assessing impact case studies from REF 2014 with known scores to try to answer the question ‘What makes a 4* case study?’ 


The blank and editable environment template is available on the REF website.

See also