Nutrition; effects of the Research Excellence Framework (REF)
Journal: Nutrition and Food Science
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review one aspect, impact of the forthcoming assessment of research in UK universities, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and to examine its meaning and potential for enhanced partnerships between practitioners and academia. Design/methodology/approach: This article debates the increasing requirement of practitioner and academic collaboration as well as outlining how we, as a contributing University, are grappling with the evidence needed to develop a framework that will demonstrate impact outside of formal academia. Findings: It is difficult to establish the link between cause and effect and to assume that the potential changes in behaviour are the result of certain interventions; capturing learning or useful data which contributes to evidenced based policy is challenging. The problem is compounded by the diversity of funding sources, each with its own scrutinising requirements. The importance of REF for the integration of evidenced based practice is evident and demonstrates the major role that practitioners could play in the future. Originality/value: A considerable amount of UK research is publically funded, hence fuelling the Government's drive to determine impact on society. This paper debates for the first time that practitioners have a role to play in its creation and identification. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.