Research Councils

Society launches new resources on REF 2029 for historians

The Royal Historical Society today publishes new pages on its website dedicated to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2029. This resource will be the location of current and forthcoming commentaries and guides for historians as further details of REF 2029 become known.

Work is now underway for REF 2029, led by a team reporting to the four UK Higher Education funding bodies. With it come a number of changes to the means and structure of assessment. As a result, the next REF will differ in important ways from that held in 2021.

Significant elements of the new high-level design for REF 2029 are non-negotiable. At the same time, other areas are currently under review. These were the subject of an open consultation exercise — (Future of the Research Assessment Programme ‘FRAP’) — which closed in October 2023, and to which the Royal Historical Society submitted a detailed response on behalf of the discipline.

The Society’s response is available here in full and was considered in association with heads of the Institute of Historical Research, the Economic History Society and the Past & Present Society, along with representatives from other learned societies. We are very grateful to these societies for their time and advice in composing the RHS response to the FRAP consultation.

To accompany the REF 2029 pages, there is also a new blog post — ‘Preparing for REF 2029’ — written by Professors Barbara Bombi and Jonathan Morris, the current and former chairs of the RHS Research Policy Committee. The post offers an overview of FRAP and the Society’s response to it, as well as a review of the REF team’s latest announcement (made on 7 December 2023). This announcement puts back the next assessment from 2028 to 2029 and provides interim decisions on the design of REF 2029 based on first responses to the October consultation.

Further updates on REF design; the recent consultation on the ‘People, Culture and Environment’ element of the exercise; and the launch of a consultation on Open Access within REF are expected from January 2024. Information on these will be added to the Society’s web pages in due course.