The UK funding bodies are committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity in research careers. As part of this commitment, in recognition that research productivity can be affected by personal circumstances, staff being submitted to REF (category A submitted) are able to declare such circumstances.

Applicable circumstances:

  • Qualifying as an early career researcher (ECR) (started your career as an independent researcher on or after 1st August 2016)
  • Absence from work due to secondments or career breaks outside the HE sector and you did not undertake academic research
  • Qualifying periods of family-related leave
    • statutory maternity or adoption leave
    • additional paternity or adoption leave, or shared parental leave lasting four months or more
  • Circumstances with an equivalent effect to absence
    • Disability
    • Ill health, injury, or mental health conditions
    • Constraints relating to pregnancy, maternity, paternity, adoption or childcare that fall outside of – or justify the reduction of further outputs in addition to – the allowances made in qualifying periods of family-related leave.
    • Other caring responsibilities (such as caring for an elderly or disabled family member).
    • Gender reassignment
    • Other circumstances relating to the protected characteristics or relating to activities protected by employment legislation.
    • Part-time working where FTE in the latter part of assessment period does not reflect your average FTE over the period as a whole e.g. you are full-time on census date but for the majority of the census period you worked part-time.

Should any of these circumstances have affected your research productivity during REF census period (01/01/14 – 31/12/2020), you are invited to declare them. By declaring your circumstances, you and/or your unit of assessment (UOA) may be eligible for a reduction in the number of research outputs required, up to a maximum of 1.5 per individual. Reductions can:

  • be applied to the number of research outputs you are expected to propose for your UOA’s output selection pool
  • remove the REF’s minimum requirement that you submit one research output
  • reduce the overall number of research outputs your UOA is required to submit.

We can only apply reductions where they have been voluntarily disclosed, even when Edge Hill University is already aware of your circumstances (i.e. they are documented in HR records). The process for declaring circumstances is documented in REF 2021 Code of Practice sections 4.3 & 4.4.

Personal circumstance disclosure form

If you have any questions about declaring circumstances, please contact Joanne Morris, Secretary Personal Circumstance Disclosure Panel or Nikki Craske, REF Manager.

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