Research excellence framework 2014



The results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF 2014) were published in December 2014 and showed that the University was among the most improved Universities for research in the United Kingdom.

The University submitted 112 staff to 11 subject areas (compared to just 4 in RAE 2008) and saw a third of its research classified as “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”, with just under three quarters of its research identified as at least “internationally recognised”.

The results show that there is “world leading” research in 9 of the 11 areas to which we submitted. This is a remarkable step forward for the University and shows its ever growing commitment to research.

There were particular successes for History where 56% of its research was recognised as “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”; for Art & Design where more than 40% met this categorisation; and for Sport & Exercise Science where 86% of its research was at least “internationally recognised”.

For more details see our full REF 2014 results.

REF 2014 saw, for the first time, an assessment of the “impact” of research on society, economy, culture and environment. The results show that 44% of the University’s impact was rated as “outstanding” or “very considerable” in terms of reach and significance with 85% being classified as at least “considerable”.

The assessment was primarily focused on a series of impact case studies, evidenced accounts of how a particular body of research undertaken at the University has led to benefits beyond the academic sphere.

The results allow us to identify, for example, the considerable impact of research on:

  • childhood obesity on weight management programmes in the West Midlands 
  • aerobiology on the quality of life of hay fever sufferers
  • plant disease on crop protection methods
  • Shakespeare on theatre performance and practice in Romania
  • remembrance on the thinking and approach of the National Memorial Arboretum.