Rebecca Fairbairn

Research Excellence Framework Director, Research England

Rebecca Fairbairn is the Research Excellence Framework (REF) Director at Research England.

REF is the UK’s system for assessing the excellence of research in UK higher education providers. The REF team is hosted by Research England on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies. The REF outcomes are used to inform the allocation of around £2 billion per year of public funding for universities’ research. Rebecca is responsible for delivering the REF 2029 exercise.

Rebecca has worked with research councils and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) since 2005. She primarily worked for the Economic and Social Research Council, covering roles in:

  • research funding
  • knowledge exchange
  • big data
  • postgraduate training
  • governance
  • evaluation

Rebecca was seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 2009 to 2011. From 2019 to 2023, Rebecca was Director of UKRI India, leading the representative office for the UK’s major research and innovation funder within the British High Commission in New Delhi.

Rebecca has an MSc from The University of Edinburgh and a masters in policy research from the University of Bristol.

Last updated: 23 May 2024

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