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International impact of our research excellence is recognised

Posted on 18 December 2014

We rank 14th overall and 10th for the impact of our research in the new Research Excellence Framework published today (18 December 2014).

The proportion of our research of world-leading 4* status is among the highest of any UK university.

Our proportion of research activity of world-leading 4* status is among the highest of any UK university, and we rated tenth out of 155 higher education institutions for the impact of our research.

Eight of our departments were ranked in the top five for their subject while 12 were in the top 10 in terms of impact, with Biology ranking first and Social Policy and Social Work equal first.

We score highly across a broad range of subject areas. The sciences, social sciences, and humanities, all score well, with 12 of our 24 departments rating in the top ten nationally. Sociology was ranked first in the UK, while we were rated second for both English and History.

This is a strong set of results which demonstrates the University’s research excellence across subject areas.

Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor

Other top ten departments were: Archaeology, Biology, Computer Science, Health Sciences (including CHE and CRD), History of Art, Law, Politics, Psychology, and Social Policy and Social Work. Politics, History and Computer Science have surged into the top ten in their subject areas. The vast majority of our academic departments are ranked in the top 20 for research.

The REF results confirm our place among the world’s leading research-intensive universities. We came 13th of the Russell Group universities and 10th in terms of impact.

Our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, said: “This is a strong set of results which demonstrates the University’s research excellence across subject areas. The REF provides an independent confirmation of the strength of the University’s research and how it makes a real difference nationally and internationally.

“This provides us with a robust benchmark as we prepare to launch our new Research Strategy on 7 January.”

Further information:

More about the REF

Our rankings are based on the methodology that excludes small and specialist institutions.

Research Excellence Framework 2014

The four UK higher education funding bodies allocate about £2 billion per year of research funding to UK universities, based on the quality and volume of each university’s research. They aim to support a dynamic and internationally competitive UK research sector that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.

Aims of the Research Excellence Framework

To distribute funds selectively on the basis of quality, the funding bodies assess universities’ research through a periodic exercise. This was previously known as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and was last conducted in 2008.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) replaced the RAE. It assessed the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines. The results will be published in December 2014 and will be used by the funding bodies to allocate block-grant research funding to universities from 2015-16.

As well as informing funding allocations, the REF provides accountability for public investment in research, demonstrates its benefits, and provides important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of UK universities.

REF 2014 key facts

  • 154 UK universities took part. They made 1,911 submissions for:
    • 52,077 academic staff
    • 191,232 research outputs
    • 6,975 impact case studies.
  • 36 expert sub-panels reviewed the submissions, overseen by four main panels
  • around £2 billion per year of research funding will be allocated on the basis of the results.

Funding bodies

The four UK funding bodies are: the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and Department for Education, Northern Ireland.

Media enquiries

David Garner
Head of Media Relations

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153