The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in higher education institutions in the United Kingdom (UK), replacing the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) last conducted in 2008. In its 2014 rollout exercise, Cardiff University successfully secured fifth place overall, and achieved second place in terms of research impact. In view of the upcoming RAE in Hong Kong in 2020, Professor Gillian BRISTOW, Dean of Research for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cardiff University, was invited to visit CLASS. On 23 November 2017 she shared Cardiff’s experiences through her talk entitled ‘Research Impact and Environment: Routes to Success’.
After providing a brief overview of Cardiff’s REF results, Professor Bristow focused on two of the three elements of REF assessment: ‘environment’ and ‘impact’. Throughout the talk, Professor Bristow stressed that the REF exercise is an iterative process with bottom-up and top-down input. ‘Impact’ was a new element in the 2014 exercise in the UK and constituted a major change. The Professor provided practical advice on how to develop impact case studies, and specifically focused on how impact can be generated and evidenced.
As Professor of Economic Geography, Professor Bristow is currently leading an interdisciplinary Global Challenges Research Fund project exploring the resilience of groundwater systems in Nigeria. She also leads the City Region Exchange, one of Cardiff University’s flagship engagement projects, which aims to increase the University’s involvement in the Cardiff Capital Region.