SOAS University of London

SOAS Standing Orders: Annex XI: REF Steering Group

Annex XI REF Steering Group


The main purpose of the Steering Group is to provide strategic oversight for SOAS’s internal preparations for its REF2021 submission.  Its remit is to ensure that all processes concerned with the REF2021 submission are transparent and consistent across all disciplines in the School.  Members are appointed for their managerial and professional responsibilities, disciplinary research expertise, experience of previous research assessments and familiarity with equality and diversity legislation.  The Steering Group is chaired by the Pro-Director of Research and Enterprise or his/her appointed delegate, and reports to the Research and Enterprise Committee.   


 The Group’s responsibilities include: 

  1. Making recommendations with regard to which Units of Assessment the School should submit to, and which members of staff and outputs should be returned in REF2021;
  2. Ensuring that effective and appropriate institutional action is undertaken to support an excellent REF2021 submission in all Units of Assessment;
  3. Ensuring the School’s REF2021 submission is informed by data and views expressed by external and internal specialists.
  • Research and REF Co-ordinators
  • Associate Directors (Research);
  • Chairs of REF Working Groups,
  • Equality and Diversity representative,
  • Representatives from REO and Library Services.
Working Groups:

There are four REF Working Groups covering key areas to inform the REF submission as follows:

  • REF Academic Output – to agree with each Unit of Assessment a basis for conducting an annual review of outputs, supporting a strategic approach to publication of the School’s research and ensuring compliance with REF open access requirements.
  • REF Environment – to take forward the task of advice and guidance on Department and Unit of Assessment research plans, ensuring that these are consistent with emerging guidelines for the REF environment statements.  This Group will also review each Unit of Assessment’s research strategy, its strategic approach to collaborations and partnerships, and its PhD completions, research income and other required REF data.
  • REF Research Impact - to review impact strategies and impact case studies for each Unit of Assessment, supporting a strategic approach to impact and wider enterprise and knowledge exchange.
  • REF Equality, Diversity and Inclusion - to support the development and establishment of the School’s code of practice regarding the selection of outputs and determining of research independence, ensuring processes are fair, transparent and lawful, and in compliance with REF requirements.
Meetings/Reporting Cycle: 

The SOAS REF Steering Group will report to Research and Enterprise Committee.

 Reporting cycle: Meetings of the full steering group will take place in October, November, January/February, March and May/June, with Working Group meetings in the interim. The May meeting each year will approve an annual review of progress for each Unit of Assessment, providing a summary report to Academic Board and the Governing Body.

Steering Group Membership 
  • Chair: Pro-Director (Research and Enterprise) or delegate
  • Deputy Chair: Director (Research and Enterprise)
  • Secretary: Research Excellence Manager (REO) (Minute taking: REO Administrative Assistant)
  • Research / REF Coordinators
  • Associate Directors (Research)
  • Chairs of REF Working Groups
  • Research Excellence Manager and Impact Officer
  • Equality and Diversity representative
  • The Digital Services Support Officer or equivalent from Library Services

For each Department/Unit of Assessment the Research and/or the REF Coordinator should attend.  Other members may be co-opted onto the group as necessary. (See Appendix A REF2021 List of Steering Group Members)

 The Working Groups

The Working Groups should be comprised of a Chair and representatives from academic and professional departments as follows:-

  1. REF Academic Output – Academic, Library and Information Services and REO representatives, including the Digital Services Support Officer or equivalent and the Research Excellence Manager.
  2. REF Environment – Academic, Finance and REO representatives, including the Director of Research and Enterprise and Research Excellence Manager.
  3. REF Research Impact – Academic and REO representatives, including the Impact Officer.  Academic representatives should be authors of successful impact case studies submitted to REF2014 and/or leads of impact case studies in development for REF2021.
  4. REF Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – Academic, HR and Equality and Diversity representatives.