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Research Excellence Framework and equalities

Research Excellence Framework and equalities

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Research Excellence Framework and equalities

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  1. Research Excellence Framework and equalities Edinburgh, Bristol, London and Manchester Ellen Pugh Senior Policy Adviser, ECU

  2. Outline • Background to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) • ECU’s role in the REF 2014 • Lessons from the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 • Equalities and the REF • The environment template • Individual staff circumstances • Developing a code of practice • Equality impact assessments

  3. What is the Research Excellence Framework 2014? • Successor to the Research Assessment Exercise • Process of expert review of research quality • Determines amount of research funding allocated to HEIs by funding councils from 2015-16 • Three key areas of assessment

  4. Overview of decision making • Funding Councils’ REF team • Main panels • Sub panels reflective of Units of Assessment • Institutions’ REF structures

  5. Key REF contacts • Funding bodies UK REF Team • Institutional REF manager • ECU • May be able to assist with equality and diversity related queries

  6. ECU’s role in the REF • Member of REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Group and observer on Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel. • Workshops on equality requirements of REF for HEIs REF managers • Commissioned by REF team to develop materials to support equality provisions of REF: • Input into Assessment framework and guidance on submissions • Guidance to panels on equality requirements • Guidance on EIA and the REF (published) • Information on developing a Code of Practice (published) • Staff disclosure of personal circumstances template (to be published December 2011) • Case studies on complex staff circumstances (to be published March 2012)

  7. Lessons from the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 • Report into ‘Selection of staff for inclusion in RAE 2008’: • Selection rate for staff with declared disability lower than for staff without declared disability • 67% of male permanent academic staff selected in comparison to 48% of women. • Women aged 30 – 50 particularly low rate of selection • Selection rate of staff from the black ethnic group lower than for staff from other ethnic groups. • Little change in selection from RAE 2001

  8. Lessons from the Research Assessment Exercise 2008 cont. • More consistency across panels in criteria and processes relating to individual staff circumstances • More specific equalities training • Proactive proforma-based procedure for disclosing individual staff circumstances • Better communication of Codes of Practice • More guidance on equality impact assessment • More timely appeals processes • To use next exercise to promote E&D more

  9. Overall approach to equalities in the REF • Equality and Diversity Advisory Group (EDAG) and Panel (EDAP) • Promotion of equality and diversity through environment template • HEIs required to develop, document and apply Code of Practice on staff selection to ensure equality and fairness for staff. • Review of effectiveness of measures through post-exercise monitoring of staff selection at sector level

  10. The environment template • Requires HEIs to provide information on vitality and sustainability of research environment for each submitting unit for period 1 January 2008 – 31 July 2013 in relation to: • Research strategy • People, including: • staff strategy and development • research students • Income, infrastructure and facilities

  11. The environment template • Specific requirements of environment template varies by main panel and forms panel criteria • Draft criteria for all panels includes requirement for HEIs to make specific reference to submitting unit’s measures to: • promote equality and diversity; and • implement The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers in relation to staffing strategy and development.

  12. The Environment template: demonstrating equality and diversity • What work are units doing to implement the Equality Duty of the Equality Act 2010 and the Concordat? • Unit level equality initiatives e.g. Athena SWAN, Project Juno • Local initiatives such as specific support for particular groups of researchers e.g. mentoring, communication of departmental and institutional wide policies on flexible working. • Staff equality training in relation to recruitment and promotion. • Staff awareness and implementation of initiatives such as Every Researcher Counts and the Researcher Development Framework.

  13. Individual staff characteristics recognised in REF • Age • Disability (including carers of disabled people) • Gender reassignment • Marriage & civil partnership • Political opinion (Northern Ireland only) • Pregnancy & maternity • Race • Religion or belief • Sex (including breastfeeding and childcare) • Sexual orientation • Welsh language (Wales only) • Part-time and fixed-term employment status • Early career researchers

  14. Individual staff circumstances and reduced research outputs • Panel criteria allow for reduction in research outputs in relation to: • Clearly defined circumstances • Early career researchers, part time working, maternity, paternity or adoptive leave, secondments or career breaks • More complex circumstances • Disability, constraints relating to pregnancy or maternity in addition to clearly defined period of leave, caring responsibilities, gender reassignment, other circumstances related to protected characteristics

  15. Institutional level: staff disclosure and handling of information • REF team advise proactive approach • Recommend using central group to assess cases and advise on decisions • HEIs need to consider confidentiality in procedures for staff disclosure • ECU suggested template for staff disclosure to be published in December 2011

  16. National level: handling of information on staff circumstances • Clearly defined circumstances • Panel secretariat will examine cases and advise sub-panel on whether submitted number of outputs is appropriate • Information seen by sub-panel and REF team • More complex circumstances • Considered by EDAP which will advise main panel chairs on whether submitted number of outputs is appropriate • Information seen by EDAP, main panel chairs & REF team

  17. Final panel criteria • Consultation on criteria closed on 5 October 2011 • Consultation questions covered: • Whether tariffs for outputs for Early Career Researchers, clearly defined circumstances and more complex circumstances set at appropriate levels • Proposed options for taking account of pregnancy and maternity • Whether consistent approach across panels was appropriate

  18. Update on final panel criteria • Final panel criteria will be published in January 2012 but we already know: • Change in tariff for pregnancy and maternity • Tariff for additional paternity and adoption leave being reviewed • Tariff for more complex circumstances may be reduced

  19. Codes of practice Purpose: • Ensure work of ALL eligible staff conducting excellent research, regardless of individual staff circumstances considered for submission • Help them comply with equality legislation • Avoid inadvertent discrimination Must be signed off by Head of HEI and submitted to REF team by July 2012 • Will be reviewed by the Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) in advance of submission deadline • Will be published with submissions at end of process

  20. Underlying principles of a code of practice • Code of practice should demonstrate fairness to staff by addressing following principles: • Transparency • Consistency • Accountability • Inclusivity

  21. Activity What needs to be included in a Code of practice? Or; What issues are arising when developing a Code of practice?

  22. Equality Impact Assessments • HEIs required to conduct EIA on policy & procedures for selecting staff to determine whether selection policy may have differential impact on particular groups • Should inform Code of Practice and be kept under review as submissions prepared • Should be informed by analysis of range of data, including (eligible and submitted) staff data in respect of protected characteristicsfor which data available • Can also consider staff on part-time and fixed term contracts • Should reviewed in light of mock exercises, appeals, and final submission

  23. Questions