Press release

MillionPlus responds to the Stern Review

28 Jul 2016

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has today responded to Lord Stern’s Independent Review of the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“Lord Stern has produced some interesting and wide-ranging findings, one of which, the proposal that all staff should be submitted to the REF, is likely to result in academic staff contracts being refocused on either teaching or research. Bearing in mind the HE and Research Bill and the restructuring of government departments there has to be a concern that this could drive a further wedge between teaching and research and may limit rather than enhance opportunities for early career researchers.

“The attempt to limit gaming of the transfer market by linking research with institutions rather than individuals needs to be carefully considered, including the consequences for funding.

“The proposal that the REF impact factor should be more broadly defined is helpful but we would argue that impact should be given much more weighting. The implications of the proposed link between the new definitions for environment and impact will also need careful consideration.

“We therefore welcome the acknowledgement by Jo Johnson MP, the Universities and Science Minister, that the REF is a UK-wide process and that the government will work with the devolved administrations and the higher education funding bodies to consider the detail of the recommendations before it delivers its response.

“The forthcoming consultation on the REF must provide an opportunity for universities to comment on the government’s response to the Stern Review's proposals and should not be limited to issues of technical implementation.”


Notes to editors

  1. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities. More information can be found at
  2. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email
  3. The MillionPlus response to the Stern Review consultation is available here
  4. The Stern Review makes recommendations on the future operation of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The review examines how university research funding can be allocated more efficiently so that universities can focus on carrying out world-leading research. The report is available here.