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REF outcomes 2021: UK’s ‘world-leading’ analysis not confined to elite universities


The Research Excellence Framework, an evaluation of UK universities’ analysis output, has discovered that “world-leading” analysis is distributed throughout the nation slightly than concentrated in a couple of elite establishments



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12 May 2022

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Research across the UK has been known as “world-leading”

Muhammet Camdereli/Getty Images

The UK’s “world-leading” analysis isn’t simply restricted to a choose few elite universities, however slightly is distributed throughout the nation, based on the newest UK authorities evaluation of the nation’s educational output.

The evaluation by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) group is predicated on seven years’ price of labor performed by universities. It assesses the standard of a college’s analysis output when it comes to how extremely cited it’s and the influence it has had in each academia and the broader world. Unlike in 2014, the final time this evaluation was performed, the REF group put a better emphasis on the broader long-term influence {that a} piece of analysis has had on the UK’s financial system, surroundings and high quality of life.

The outcomes will assist UK authorities funding our bodies resolve the way to allocate £2 billion price of grant cash between universities every year.

“There’s lots of myths about where our research excellence is, but the truth is that it is more broadly distributed, as the results from this exercise show,” says Steven Hill at Research England, chair of the REF steering group.

More than 185,000 items of analysis have been submitted by 157 universities to the REF group, which have been reviewed by 34 professional panels. The panels have been break up into 4 primary classes: life and medical sciences, bodily sciences, social sciences and humanities and humanities.

The group discovered that 41 per cent of the analysis submitted was thought-about of the best high quality, which the REF group termed “world-leading”. Meanwhile, 43 per cent of the analysis was ranked “internationally excellent”. More than 80 per cent of the analysis assessed at each these ranges of high quality was present in each area and nation within the UK.

Nearly all universities who submitted analysis to the REF group have been discovered to have not less than a few of their exercise judged as “world-leading”. “There’s a really even distribution of research excellence across the UK,” says Hill.

Comparisons with earlier analyses made by REF are tough to make as a result of methodological modifications, however the 2014 REF report discovered that solely 30 per cent of analysis submitted was “world-leading”.

“Universities play a key role in providing the ideas and skills to fuel the regional economy that surrounds them,” says Brian Walker at Newcastle University, UK. “In less prosperous regions, these contributions from universities are disproportionately important.”

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