The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), last conducted in 2008.
The 2014 REF was conducted jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL). It's primary purpose was to assess the quality of research and produce outcomes for each submission made by institutions.
The assessment of outcomes provide UK-wide indicators of research excellence for all disciplines for use in benchmarking quality against international standards, helping to drive HEFCE’s funding for research and enabling it to invest in excellence where it is found.
For further information about the REF 2014 please visit the information pages on the REF website.