The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has responded to the outcome of the Stern Review into the Research Excellence Framework (REF), published on Thursday 28 July.
The review stresses that past REF processes have been problematic and caused ‘unintended consequences’ and delivers a number of recommendations for better assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.
Sarah Jones, ABPI’s Head of Education & Academic Liaison said:
“Collaboration and partnership with leading academic scientists is critical to the success of the pharmaceutical industry, from the understanding of disease, to the manufacture of new medicines.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is central to the direction and facilitation of world-class academic research in the UK and Lord Stern has delivered a number of valuable recommendations that should maximise the benefit of partnerships between academics, institutions and our sector.
In particular, we welcome the Review’s recognition of the value of including impact as part of the Framework as a tool to encourage even more collaboration. For our industry, the pathway from discovery to delivery of new medicines is long, complex, and often non-linear, and recognising that impacts should be interpreted and assessed both broadly and flexibly, is valuable.
In addition, the Review’s acknowledgement that interdisciplinary research, collaboration and mobility across sectors should be encouraged and rewarded, will support the pharmaceutical industry in addressing many of the global health challenges that our society faces today.
Given the uncertainty that currently effects the UK higher education and academic landscape, and for the continued benefit of research excellence across the UK, it is important that Lord Stern’s review and recommendations be implemented in an integrated and coherent way.”
The three recommendations on the value of impact that are highlighted in the report are:
1. Institutions should be given more flexibility to showcase their interdisciplinary and collaborative impacts by submitting ‘institutional’ level impact case studies, part of a new institutional level assessment.
2. Impact should be based on research of demonstrable quality. However, case studies could be linked to a research activity and a body of work as well as to a broad range of research outputs.
3. Guidance on the REF should make it clear that impact case studies should not be narrowly interpreted, need not solely focus on socioeconomic impacts but should also include impact on government policy, on public engagement and understanding, on cultural life, on academic impacts outside the field, and impacts on teaching.
Notes to editors
ABPI's response to the Stern Review consultation is available online.
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About the ABPI
The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.
Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients. We represent companies supplying around 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.
The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry, for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.