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Alliance universities see big increase in share of world class research

World class and internationally excellent research almost doubled across Alliance universities

The results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework show that Alliance universities have seen a major increase in their share of world class and internationally excellent research.

View our REF Map of Alliance universities

View our REF Map of Alliance universities

Their combined level of 3 and 4* research nearly doubled to 60%, compared to 35% in RAE2008 reflecting a 26% increase in their share of the UK’s excellent research. This was an improvement of 25 percentage points, above the sector average increase of 21 percentage points.

95% of all Alliance submissions had world-leading research activity.

Of the UK’s world-leading and internationally excellent (3* & 4*) research Alliance universities now account for:

  • 26% in general engineering
  • 17% in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy
  • 17% in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
  • 21% in Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory
  • 19% in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism
  • 14% in Social Work and Social Policy
  • 16% in Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management

This reflects an increase in submissions from 4,237 to 4,325.

Our response to the REF 2014 exercise

On 18 December, 2014, the Higher Education Funding Council for England announced the results of the REF 2014 exercise.
 
Responding to the announcement, Professor Steve West, Chair of University Alliance, said: “Today is about celebrating that research across UK universities is amongst the best in the world. Research excellence is a top priority for Alliance universities. The scale and rating of their research revealed through REF demonstrates their significant place within the UK’s research and innovation ecosystem.
 
“The REF process is a big reason why we are one of the leading nations for university research, second only to the US. It has driven up standards and helped define and identify where the best research exists, demonstrating yet again that excellent research exists right across the university sector.
 
“At a time when public spending and the future prosperity of the UK are under scrutiny, how university research is funded is a critical question. We know that the best way to ensure university research continues to have an impact on people and places, and to maintain our global standing as a research nation, is to continue funding excellent research wherever it is found. 
 
“Previous funding decisions have been right to seek out and fund the teams doing leading research rather than picking winners at an institutional level.  Sustained investment has supported the wide and deep impact and diversity of UK research. 
 
“The approach taken to research at Alliance universities has meant they have carved out a significant and important role within the UK’s research ecosystem. They are leading the way in which universities collaborate – with businesses, local communities and colleagues with complementary expertise across the sector.”
Research with impact