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The UK funding bodies are committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity in research careers.

Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP)

EDAP has been established to advise the funding bodies, the REF team and the REF panels on the implementation of equality measures in the REF. See further information on its roles and membership. 

Improving the representativeness of panels

Analysis of the REF 2014 panel membership highlighted that some limited progress had been made in improving the representativeness of the membership since the 2008 RAE. At the end of the 2014 exercise, EDAP produced a final report on the equality and diversity aspects of the REF. 

In response to these findings and recommendations, we will implement the following measures to improve the representativeness of the panels for REF 2021: 

  • Mandatory, bespoke equality and diversity briefings and unconscious bias training will be provided for panellists involved in selection decisions.
  • Equality and diversity monitoring data will be collected anonymously for all applicants and nominees for panel membership through an online form, to compare the representativeness of the pool of applicants and nominees with the appointed panels.
  • Data will be made available to nominating bodies on the current representation of protected groups among UK academic research staff [link to contextual data], and guidance provided on how to approach sensitively increasing representativeness in nominations.
  • Nominating bodies will be required to submit information about how equality and diversity issues were taken into account in putting forward nominations.
  • The main and sub-panel chairs will also be provided with data on the current representation of protected groups among UK academic research staff, as well as anonymous data on the representation of these groups among nominees to the panel. This data, along with data on the representation of protected groups on the appointed panels, will be published at main panel-level. 

Further guidance for nominating bodies on equality and diversity is set out at Annex C to ‘Roles and recruitment of the expert panels’ (REF 2017/03).

Equality impact assessment

The four UK funding bodies are committed to embedding equality and diversity in all aspects of REF policy and decision-making.  An equality impact assessment was conducted alongside the process for determining the high-level decisions for REF 2021 (‘Initial decisions on the Research Excellence Framework 2021’ (REF 2017/01) and ‘Decisions on staff and outputs’ (REF 2017/04)).

The REF equality impact assessment is an iterative process, and the assessment will be treated as a working document to be updated at key points in the policy development process where concern about equalities impact is identified.