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Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs).

The University of Bradford is currently ranked 49th in the UK for the quality of its research with three quarters being classed as either world-leading or internationally excellent.

The results, published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) see the University significantly improve in overall ranking from 62 to 49 in the UK in 2014.

The REF replaces the previous Research Assessment Exercise, last conducted in 2008. It places greater emphasis on the impact of research, considered by the REF to be making a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.

The REF particularly measures the output – the number and quality of publications - of a university’s research, and the real impact of research based on case studies submitted.

Nearly 40% of Bradford’s impact case studies have been ranked world leading (4*) and almost 90% ranked as world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) combined, putting the University 43rd in the country for the impact of research. The University is also 43rd for the quality of research output.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of the research overall was rated as world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). A further 22% of the University’s research was internationally recognised, meaning that overall 96% was ranked as internationally recognised through to world leading.

The results for Allied Health, Management and Archaeological Science were particularly good.  In Allied Health the overall assessment of research placed 92% of it in the 4* and 3* categories, and 100% of the impact and environment in 4* and 3*.  Impact was strong in Archaeological Science where 100% was classed as 4* and 3*, 60% in the 4* category.  Politics and International Studies also scored 100% for impact across 4* and 3*. Management did particularly well in impact with 87% in the 4* and 3* categories.

Professor Brian Cantor, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: “We pride ourselves on the high quality of our research and knowledge transfer activity. These results underline that excellence and demonstrate Bradford’s continued development as a world-leading, research-intensive university that brings real solutions to issues affecting society and communities worldwide.

“Bradford is fiercely committed to making a difference – producing research that impacts on real-world problems and equipping our graduates to go into the world able to make a significant contribution to society. We are proud of that commitment and delighted to see the excellence and impact of our research recognised.”

For detailed information see the REF website.