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Environment data (REF4)

The information on this page was published whilst the exercise was being conducted; this material is provided for background information only and will not be updated.

Latest FAQs (September 2013)

Can REF5 (the environment template) include information about all staff within the department or only those being submitted in REF1a?
The environment template may describe the contribution of all staff that support research within the submitting unit, and need not refer only to those staff included in REF1a.
If the income-in-kind figures provided by the health research funding bodies include funding which the institution is returning as research income in REF4b can it also be returned in REF4c?
No, this income should not be double-counted. If the institution is returning an element of this funding as research income in REF4b it should remove the equivalent amount from the income-in-kind figures. 

Previous FAQs

How should institutions calculate the additional environment data on postgraduate research students, requested by sub-panel 8 and sub-panel 26?

Both these sub-panels require data for students registered for a research doctoral degree and who are actively pursuing their research programme. Institutions should supply the total FTE of students active in the academic year by summing the HESA Student Instance FTE (STULOAD) field for students that have a HESA General qualification aim of course (COURSEAIM) of ‘D00: Doctorate degree that meets the criteria for a research-based higher degree’ and ‘D01: New Route PhD that meets the criteria for a research-based higher degree’ and that are in the HESA session population, for each of the academic years 2008-09 to 2012-13.

Where students have changed their mode to writing-up within the same academic year, institutions should include their writing-up activity for that academic year in the FTE figure reported for that academic year (there should be a single total FTE of students actively pursuing their research programme, to include students who have changed their mode to writing up during the year). Where a student has been writing-up for the whole of the academic year, institutions should exclude the student from the FTE figure reported for that academic year. 

Where you are including the writing-up activity, please use the HESA guidance to calculate this:

The FTE allocated to writing-up students should be 10% for both full and part-time students. The 10% applies where the student has been writing-up for a full year. Where a student has only been writing up for part of the year the FTE should be adjusted accordingly. So, where a student does 6 months full-time study and then 6 months writing up within an academic year, they would be recorded as 0.55 FTE.

Is a PhD by publication eligible for inclusion in REF4a?
The only qualifications that may be included in REF4a are those returned to the HESA record as ‘D00: Doctorate degree that meets the criteria for a research-based higher degree’ and ‘D01: New Route PhD that meets the criteria for a research-based higher degree’. Data returned to the HESA record as E00: ‘Doctorate degree not obtained primarily through advanced supervised research written up as a thesis/dissertation’ are excluded from REF4a. PhD by publication, PhD by portfolio and professional doctorates recorded as E00 are not eligible for inclusion in REF4a.
Can an institution return research doctoral degrees data (REF4a) and research income data (REF4b) where the supervisor or grant holder is not returned to the REF?
Yes. PGR degrees awarded to all students supervised within the submitting unit should be included. The research income of the submitted unit as a whole should be included.
When will the REF team provide HEIs with HESA data on research income and research degrees awarded to be used in preparing REF submissions?

Data on research income and research doctoral degrees awarded for academic year (AY) 2008-09 to AY 2010-11 will be provided by May 2012; and data for AY 2008-09 to AY 2011-12 by April 2013. HESA will make AY 2012-2013 data on research doctoral degrees awarded available in a suitable form through the checkdoc facility, from August 2013. Further details, including arrangements for research income-in-kind, will be provided in due course.

This data has been provided through the REF extranet, for further details please contact the REF main contact for your institution.

Why is data on research income and research degrees awarded not being collected for 2007-08?
We are aligning data on research income and research degrees awarded as far as possible with existing HESA data, and the decision was taken not include 2007-08. This is to balance data quality considerations (2007-08 data was returned to HESA before its potential use in the REF was known), with panels' requirements for a sufficient time-series of such data for the purpose of informing their assessment of the research environment. Five years of such data (2008-09 to 2012-13) is considered sufficient for this purpose.
Can HESA data on research degrees awarded be provided to HEIs at the level of the student, to enable HEIs to map the data to REF UOAs?

The REF team are looking into the feasibility of this, and will provide further information in due course.

This has been provided to HEIs in the data workbook available on the REF extranet.

How should submissions deal with changes to the income categories in HESA data during the REF period?
The income sources for the 'Research grants and contracts' table (currently Table 5b) in the HESA Finance Statistics Return have not changed during the period 2008-09 to 2010-11 inclusive, and we do not expect them to change for the remainder of the REF period.
Where research degree students were supervised by one HEI (without research degree awarding powers) and the degrees were accredited/awarded by another HEI, which of the HEIs should include the degrees awarded in their REF submission?
Research degrees awarded are returned to HESA by the HEI that registered the students. This HEI should include the research degrees awarded in their REF submission.