Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercises are run by a REF Team managed by Research England on behalf of the UK’s four higher education funding bodies:

  • Research England
  • Scottish Funding Council
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland

REF 2029 is governed by the REF 2029 Steering Group. (View the Steering Group’s Terms of Reference.) The REF Steering Group comprises members of each of the UK higher education funding bodies. It is currently chaired by the Director of Research at Research England and serviced by representatives from the REF team.

The group has responsibility for matters of policy and the programme of work, agreeing collective recommendations on the high-level framework, and putting these forward to the boards of the funding bodies.

The Steering Group signs off key guidance developed by the REF team, provides oversight of risks, and agrees the draft REF budget to put forward for approval from the funding bodies.

The group also draws attention of the REF team to matters of importance or sensitivity within the devolved territories, and acts as the final arbiter in REF 2029-related appeals or disputes. If you have any queries relating to the Steering Group, please email