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REF 2021

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results have now been published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

REF is a retrospective assessment that happens every six or seven years and these latest results are based on our research between 2014 and 2020.

REF 2021: University of Bradford highlights

  • 73% of our research is rated as Internationally Excellent or World Leading (3* or 4*)  
  • 75% of our outputs are rated as Internationally Excellent or World Leading (3* or 4*)  
  • 77% of our Impact is rated as Internationally Excellent or World Leading (3* or 4*)  
  • 100% of Impact in Archaeology and Computer Science and Informatics is rated as Internationally Excellent or World Leading (3* or 4*)  
  • 100% of Environment in Archaeology and Business and Management is rated as Internationally Excellent or World Leading (3* or 4*)  
  • Over 80% of outputs in Allied Health ProfessionsDentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy, Chemistry and Engineering are rated as Internationally Excellent or World Leading (3* or 4*)  
  • Chemistry and Psychology submitted to REF2021 for the first time
  • Computer Science returned to REF2021, our distinctive capability having been submitted under the Engineering heading at the last REF
  • 230 of our academics - everybody with significant responsibility for research - were submitted to REF 2021, that is over 75% more researchers than in the last 2014 round, which is significantly higher than the sector average increase of 46%

REF 2021 placed greater emphasis on the impact of research, with assessors considering its contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.

For detailed information see the UK's REF website.

Below are a collection of case studies from the University of Bradford's 2021 REF submission, detailing real world benefits our research has delivered.


Cancer discoveries lead to spin-out company success

Incanthera's cancer therapeutics are based on research using enzymes found within tumours.

Translating beauty and healthcare research to brands for business growth

The Centre for Skin Sciences works with companies across the globe on new products.

Exploring the meaning and legacy of death through past and contemporary practice

The Continuing Bonds project uses archaeology to help enable difficult discussions about death and bereavement.

Deep face recognition effective in criminal investigations

Innovative AI which can identify specific parts of the face and accurately predict face ageing.

Using research to train the dementia workforce

Testimonials helped to inform guidelines for care workers.

Polymer-Solvent Interactions to Improve British Manufacturing Performance

University of Bradford expertise in polymer research has helped companies bring new products to market.

Automated Solar Activity Prediction system used by NASA

Researchers have developed a reliable system for monitoring and predicting extreme solar flares.

The Hidden Landscapes at Stonehenge

Research into the area around Stonehenge has led to breakthroughs in how we view the site.

Visualising heritage through virtual 3D models

The University's database of virtual 3D models of archaeological artefacts and heritage sites has led to interesting collaborations.

Utilising advanced polymers for innovative heart stents

Heart stents that can be absorbed into the body have great potential for improved health outcomes for patients.

Changing police attitudes around violence against women and girls in Brazil

Research has led to enhanced guidelines for Brazil's police.

Using digital technology to increase trust in politics

The Empatia platform aims to drive engagement in local politics.


Research in Conversation - Facial Recognition

Professor Hassan Ugail discusses his Facial Recognition and Artificial Intelligence research with Dr Emma Brown and how it has helped in international criminal investigations.

Read more in the case study about facial recognition and AI.

Research in Conversation - Improving Citizen Engagement in Local Government

Professor Sankar Sivarajah and Professor Vishanth Weerakkody discuss their research into improving citizen engagement in local government through participatory budgeting and the impact that research has had.

Find out more in the accompanying article about encouraging engagement in local politics.

Research in Conversation - Building Resilience Through Heritage

Dr Karina Croucher and Professor Owen Greene talk about the impacts of their research into building resilience in refugee communities via the lens of heritage.

Find out more about the BreaTHe project.

Research in Conversation - Thermoplastic Granulation

Professor Anant Paradkar and Professor Adrian Kelly discuss their research into Thermoplastic Granulation and the impact this research has had in manufacturing and job creation.

Read more about the thermoplastic granulation project.

Research in Conversation - Space Weather

Professor Rami Qahwaji gives us some insight into the impacts of his research into space weather, how we can better predict it and why it is important for infrastructure on Earth.

Read more in the accompanying case study article on predicting space weather.

Research in Conversation - Continuing Bonds, Understanding Bereavement

Dr Karina Croucher and Dr Eleanor Bryant discuss the impact of the Continuing Bonds research project that uses archaeology to discuss topics around death and bereavement.

Read the case study on the Continuing Bonds project to find out more.

Research in Conversation - Policing Gender-Based Violence

Dr Fiona Macaulay discusses her research into gender-based violence violence in Brazil and the impact her work has had training Police forces in better supporting survivors of gender-based violence, with Professor Owen Greene.

Read more in the accompanying case study on policing gender-based violence violence in Brazil.