You are in : Home » About the REF » Guidance and criteria » FAQs » Staff (REF1a)

Staff (REF1a)

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 (July 2013)

The guidance states that two HEIs may return the same individual with a total FTE that sums to no more than 1.0. What if a full-time member of staff is still serving their notice at institution A, having started employment at institution B on the census date?
If an individual in this circumstance is returned by both institutions, the REF team will rectify this through verification. If the member of staff meets the eligibility criteria to be returned by their first employer (institution A), then the individual will be deemed eligible for return by that institution and will be removed from institution B’s submission.                       
'Guidance on submissions' paragraph 79h states: 'Staff whose salary is calculated on an hourly or daily basis are eligible only if they meet the definition at paragraph 78 and on the census date have a contract of employment of at least 0.2 FTE per year over the length of their contract.' How should institutions calculate the full-time equivalence (FTE) of staff contracted on an hourly or daily basis?

Institutions should calculate the mean FTE of these staff using the number of hours or days worked from the start of their current employment contract up to the census date (31 October 2013), based on the standard hours or days of a full-time employee at that institution.

The following additional guidance was added in July 2013:

If the contract started prior to 2008-09 then it would suffice to calculate the mean FTE of HESA reporting years that fall wholly within the REF period (2008-09 to 2012-13) and the period up to the REF census date, 31 October 13.

Previous FAQs

Are individuals based outside the UK eligible to be returned to the REF and if so, does the HEI have to demonstrate their research is connected with the submitting unit?

Staff who are employed by the HEI to work in an overseas department or campus of the submitting HEI are eligible to be returned as Categroy A staff if:

  • they satisfy the general eligibility criteria at paragraph 78 of the 'guidance on submissions', and
  • the HEI demonstrates that the primary focus of their research activity on the census date is directly connected to the submitting unit based in the UK (see paragraph 79d of the 'guidance on submissions'). In the submission, the HEI should indicate that such staff are 'Non-UK based' and provide the 'Non-UK based explanatory text'.

Staff who work at another HEI outside of the UK who also have a fractional contract with a UK HEI, may be returned as Category A staff (with a fractional FTE) if they satisfy the general eligibility criteria at paragraph 78 of the 'guidance on submissions'. For these staff, as with any other member of eligible staff on a fractional contract, the HEI is not required to demonstrate their research connection with the submitting unit.

If an individual is eligible for inclusion by multiple HEIs, can each HEI submit that individual with the same research outputs?
Yes. As stated at paragraph 79f of the '', an individual may be returned as Category A by more than one HEI if they have a contract with and receive a salary from more than one HEI. The same research outputs may, but need not be, listed in each submission.
What FTE should be returned as 'FTE on the census date' where an individual holds one contract with multiple functions?
The individual should be returned with the FTE of the contract that makes them eligible for submission to the REF; not the FTE specifically related to their research duties within that contract.
Following the review of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) staff record, what is the revised guidance on the coding of eligible staff as per footnote 2 of the 'guidance on submissions'?

The HESA guidance has been simplified to the following:

Individuals whose primary employment function is to undertake either 'research only' or 'teaching and research' are staff returned to the HESA Staff Collection with an academic employment function of either 'Academic contract that is research only' or 'Academic contract that is both teaching and research' (identified as codes'‘2' or '3' in the ACEMPFUN field).

This guidance should be read in conjunction with staff eligibility guidance at paragraphs 77 to 81 of 'guidance on submissions'.

Are higher education institution (HEI) staff in managerial positions eligible for return to the REF?

In paragraph 78 of the ‘guidance on submissions’, Category A staff are defined as ‘academic staff with a contract of employment of 0.2 FTE or greater and on the payroll of the submitting HEI on the census date (31 October 2013), and whose primary employment function is to undertake either ‘research only’ or ‘teaching and research’.’

Individuals who do not meet these criteria are not eligible to be returned to the REF as Category A staff. Therefore, staff employed on full-time managerial contracts are not eligible for the REF. Staff who hold academic contracts of 0.2 FTE or greater with a primary employment function to undertake either ‘research only’ or ‘teaching and research’ are eligible for return to the REF, regardless of whether they also undertake managerial duties.

Any member of staff employed by the HEI, including heads of HEIs, is not eligible for return to the REF as Category C staff.

What is the definition of 'independent research' for an early career researcher?

The definition of independent research is at paragraph 85b of 'guidance on submissions'. In leading a significant piece of research work, the individual may, but need not, have acted as principle investigator or equivalent on a research grant.  An individual who meets the definition of a research assistant at paragraph 80 of 'guidance on submissions' would not be considered to be conducting independent research (unless, exceptionally, they are eligible for selection according to paragraph 81).

The definition of early career researchers for the REF is not based on a particular job role or job title as these may vary from institution to institution. The completion of a PhD is not always a useful indicator of the first point at which an individual undertook independent research.

What initials and surname should be provided for REF1a where the individual uses a different name (e.g. pen name or maiden name) for publication of their research outputs?
Staff who use a different name on published research outputs should be returned to the REF with this name on REF1a. If staff data verification is required from the institution, we will require additional evidence to verify the individual’s identity.
If an individual is employed by the institution but have their salary paid directly from an external funder, are they eligible for inclusion in the REF?
An individual who is not on the payroll of the submitting institution on the census date is not eligible for inclusion as Category A staff. Such an individual may be eligible for inclusion as Category C: given that their salary is directly paid by a body external to the institution, this qualifies as ‘employed by an organisation other than an HEI’. (See paragraph 82 of ‘guidance of submissions’.)
If an academic had been employed solely on a 'teaching only' contract prior to 1 Aug 2009 and on a 'research' or 'teaching and research' contract after that date, could they qualify as an early career researcher?
Yes. Any member of staff that is eligible for submission and meets the definition of an early career researcher (at paragraphs 85-86 of 'Assessment framework and guidance on submissions') qualifies.
Can an individual be submitted as Category C staff on the basis that they are self-employed?
Can an Emeritus professor be eligible for submission?
Emeritus professors who continue in salaried employment contracted to carry out research and meet the definition at paragraph 78 of Assessment framework and guidance on submissions are eligible to be returned as Category A staff.