Posted Wednesday 20 January 2021
A leading researcher at Kingston University and St George's, University of London has become the fourth in the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education to be appointed to a prestigious panel for the Government's Research Excellence Framework (REF).
Patient and public involvement fellow for the faculty's Centre for Public Engagement Sally Brearley will lend her significant expertise and broad experience to the Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy panel as an impact assessor. She joins Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise Professor Priscilla Harries, the only occupational therapist appointed in the UK for both the assessment and criteria setting phases of REF 2021, and Director of the Centre for Public Engagement Professor Mary Chambers on the same sub-panel, while Professor of Health Research Fiona Ross makes up the quartet as a member of the REF Equality and Diversity Advisory panel.
The REF is a periodic national review of the quality of research in higher education and is major exercise undertaken by the four higher education funding bodies in the United Kingdom, with the results driving the allocation of public funding for research. Being chosen to sit on one of these panels provides recognition of an academic's professional standing - with thousands of nominations having been submitted for roles across the four main panels and 33 sub-panels for REF 2021.
Ms Brearley was one of the first impact assessors when REF introduced the metric in 2014 and has been invited back after being nominated by Mental Health Nurse Academics UK for her vast experience of being a research user in NHS commissioning and patient advocacy.
In her role she will assess the impact of research in the areas of allied health, dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy. In the REF, impact is defined as an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment, or quality of life. These assessments are likely to be undertaken from September 2021, with results due in 2022.
Ms Brearley said her previous experience as an impact assessor will stand her in good stead this time around. "It was a steep learning curve last time as impact had never been assessed formally before. There is a lot more guidance around now and I am hugely honoured to be asked back. I have trained as a physiotherapist, have a degree in nursing, and been heavily focusing on patient and public involvement in my research, so I hopefully bring plenty to the table," she said.
The four appointments from the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, run jointly by Kingston and St George's, add to other Kingston University representation with Professors Peter Osborne, Jane Pavitt, Anne Boddington also playing leading roles for REF 2021.