ALT responds to Higher Education Funding Council for England Consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework

Image of ALT's value "Independence"

ALT has responded to the Higher Education Funding Council for England Consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework. The response was submitted by ALT as a membership body, representing as members over 2300 individuals and 180 organisations. 

About the consultation (full details here):


1. This [consultation] document sets out the proposals of the four UK higher education funding bodies for the second Research Excellence Framework (REF) for the assessment of research in UK higher education institutions. The proposals seek to build on the first REF conducted in 2014, and to incorporate the principles identified in Lord Stern’s Independent Review of the REF.

Key points

2. The four UK higher education funding bodies are consulting on detailed arrangements for research assessment in a second Research Excellence Framework. We propose an overall approach based on REF 2014, incorporating the principles of Lord Stern’s Independent Review, and subject to changes that may be made in responses to this consultation.

3. The full set of consultation questions is available at Annex A.

4. We invite responses from higher education institutions and other groups and organisations with an interest in the conduct, quality, funding or use of research. This includes businesses, government and public sector bodies, charities and other third sector organisations.


ALT's response focused on three areas of the consultation which are directly related to our role as the leading professional body for Learning Technology: 

  • The proposal to use HESA cost centres to map research-active staff to UOAs (Units of Assessment) and how this could impact on research in Learning Technology, which is often cross-discplinary.

  • The recommendation to broaden and deepen the definition of impact, which could help to demonstrate the value of work in the area of technology enhanced learning in the education sectors in which our Members are working. We argued that it is important to recognise the value in ALT members conducting research, scholarship and evaluation on the impact of TEL on education practices and student outcomes. Greater recognition of this work within the REF would increase its value within organisations.

  • The proposals relating to nominating bodies. ALT is a nominating body and Professor Jane Seale was successfully nominated by the Association in a previous REF cycle.

ALT regularly responds to consultations and provides a trusted, independent voice for Members across sectors. Our current strategy sets out our aims for 2017-2020:

  • Increasing the impact of Learning Technology for the wider community, strengthening recognition and representation for the Membership at a national level and leading professionalisation for individual Learning Technology professionals in a broad range of roles.

You can explore the strategy slides, download the full text in PDF or Google docs. Visual content is available on Flickr.