GuildHE and its Consortium for Research Excellence, Support and Training (CREST) welcomed the Minister for Universities and Science’s, David Willetts, announcement on Friday 9th July 2010 that implementation of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) will be postponed for one year. CREST members support the longer timescale in order, as the Minister put it, to ‘figure out whether there is a method of assessing impact which is sound and which is acceptable to the academic community.’ We agree that ‘This longer timescale will enable HEFCE, its devolved counterparts, and ministers to make full use of the pilot impact assessment exercise which concludes in the Autumn, and then to consider whether it can be refined.’
Alice Hynes, CEO of GuildHE and Secretary to CREST, said: “The longer timescale will give HEFCE a chance to establish what ‘impact’ means as an assessment of research excellence. GuildHE’s CREST members strongly support the inclusion of criteria that incentivises researchers and recognises research excellence wherever it is found. Many practice- based researchers have been accustomed to considering the numerous ways that their work benefits communities, and provides a basis for telling the complex story of research and its value to the public. The continuing detailed consideration of impact through assessment of the pilots and their implications for all subject areas is critical to give research colleagues adequate confidence in these new measurements.
“The delay also allows for greater collaboration between research communities in what the Minister praised as ‘clusters – best defined as a low-risk environment for high-risk activity’, which work to increase institutions’ capacity to undertake impactful research and achieve excellence. The GuildHE’s work on CREST seeks to create such innovative opportunities.”

For more information, please contact
Dr. Alisa Miller, CREST Research Network Co-ordinator
020 7529 8796


1.    David Willett’s speech to the Royal Institute on 9th July is available at
2.    The GuildHE member’s institutions were successful in gaining recognition for niche areas of research work in the RAE 2008 claiming “islands of excellence” and significant work in both 4 and 3 star categories.
3.    Funded by HEFCE and members’ subscriptions, the CREST (Consortium for Research Excellence, Support and Training) provides an innovative model for supporting research excellence, creating a community of researchers through interdisciplinary and institutional collaboration.