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The four UK funding bodies have appointed Professor Kimberly Hutchings, Professor of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London as chair of Sub-panel 19: Politics and International Studies for REF 2021. This appointment follows the departure of previous chair, Vivien Lowndes for personal reasons.

During the upcoming REF 2021 assessment phase, the sub-panel chair role is central in ensuring consistent assessment standards within their sub-panel. The chair will also play a key role in engaging with the UK higher education sector on the REF.

Professor Hutchings has extensive experience across the UK HE sector, having worked at the Universities of Wolverhampton, Edinburgh, London School of Economics and Queen Mary, and been Head of Department in the last three institutions. She was originally trained and taught in Philosophy, but moved on to specialise in Political and International Theory. She has been the Deputy Chair of SP19 since the criteria setting phase in 2018 and worked closely with the previous Chairs: Professors Charlie Jeffery and Vivien Lowndes.

Dr Kim Hackett, REF Director, said: β€˜I am delighted to welcome Professor Hutchings as chair of Sub-panel 19. She will bring both her considerable expertise and valuable experience of the exercise to date to the leadership of the sub-panel. I look forward to working with her in this role through the assessment phase.’

Commenting on her appointment, Kimberly said: β€˜It is an honour to take on the role of Chair of the REF Sub-Panel of Politics and International Studies. Vivien Lowndes has been an extraordinarily effective Chair, guiding us through crucial stages of the criteria-setting and assessment phase processes. I am fortunate to be taking over from her and working with a wonderful set of colleagues on the Sub-Panel.’