Dear Colleagues

Creating the right balance of different work pressures in your day to day academic life means that sometimes opportunities are offered that are easily overlooked.  

Research England has called for further assessors for their Research Excellence Framework (REF) next year (2021), and I would urge you to consider putting your name forward for this important exercise.  It is a great opportunity to work with experts across your field of research and make a direct contribution to our national prestige and standing in the world. REF2021 is meant to be an absolute measure of quality and is unrivalled in its rigour and significance. It would be a real benefit to both the University of Portsmouth, and Research England to have more academics from our institution being a part of this.

REF2021 also needs more assessors of impact; a key component of the exercise and arguably the most fun as you get to see the long-term societal benefits of our universities. Details of how to apply (through a nominating institution) can be found on the REF website (deadline April 3rd) and I hope we can increase the number of Portsmouth assessors involved next year.

That said, I have decided to step down as an assessor from the REF2021 physics panel. My involvement was no longer compatible with my present PVC role and by next year, I would have been two years away from the ICG: So it is getting harder to call me an expert anymore! Please don’t let my departure from this role dissuade you from this opportunity.  

REF2021 is only one of many opportunities for colleagues to shape and influence your academic disciplines and the UK research and innovation landscape. There are many regional and national organisations, and learned societies,  that need academics for their advisory boards, review colleges, selection committees, sandpits, etc. For example, I was lucky to sit on the Science Board of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and felt my input was effective, and I am proud to have represented both Portsmouth, and the astronomical community, inside this important national funding agency. That said, I am unapologetic about the importance of the intelligence one can gain from such experiences, and how bringing that back into Portsmouth helps us prepare for the future. Therefore, if you do volunteer for such roles, I wish you well and let me know if you are successful! In fact… why not write a blog for us to tell others about the experience!

Sorry but this blog does not reflect the recent postponement of REF.

That said, REF is still seeking more assessors and the deadline for that has also been postponed. So more time to decide if you want to do it.