REF 2021

The results are in for REF 2021: the results for the Faculty are very good indeed, and part of a fantastic university result.

What is the REF?

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the national assessment of research, conducted by expert panels every six years, across some 34 subject-based units of assessment (UOAs). It provides rankings and ratings for research, impact and environment which are used by the four UK higher education funding bodies to decide on the distribution of around £2 billion of research funding. The last one took place in 2014.

REF is a kind of report card on research and impact for all participating British higher education institutions.

So how did we do?

Overall, we did very well. According to the rankings provided by the Times Higher, three UOAs have been ranked in the top ten in the country, namely Anthropology (6th), Classics (8th), and Modern Languages (4th).

In individual highlights, Anthropology, and Religion and Theology were given the highest possible award for outputs (for example, books, chapters, creative works, and articles). Music, Drama, Film and TV, and History were ranked in the top quartile for impact. Modern Languages had the highest possible award for environment.

An overall 48% of research submitted to REF 2021 by the Faculty was rated as world-leading (4*) in terms of originality, significance and rigour. 88.5% was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent (4* and 3*).

These figures represent an enormous amount of intellectual work and effort, not just by the academics but by the professional services staff who supported them and the process. It demonstrates that the research undertaken in the Faculty of Arts is world leading, has significant impacts on society, and contributes to knowledge across all our disciplines.

What difference will it make?

A strong REF 2021 result means the Faculty is in a good position to invest in more world-leading research in the arts and humanities, research which makes a real and positive difference to people’s lives. You can sample some of our outstanding impact in the refreshed Impact and Engagement page.

Congratulations to all.

Hilary Carey and Helen Fulton

Faculty Research Directors (Arts)

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