The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, replacing the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). REF introduced an assessment of research impact for the first time, which was primarily assessed through case studies. The last REF took place in 2014 (with submission in 2013), with York coming 10th for research impact.
The date for the next REF is expected to be 2021 (with submission in 2020), but the precise timetable is not yet confirmed. The Stern Review, which reported in July 2016, affirmed that research impact will remain a key component of the next REF.