Staffordshire University shows substantial improvement in REF 2021

Staffs Uni has welcomed the results of REF 2021 which has recognised more of its research as "internationally excellent" and "world leading"

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87% of Staffordshire University's research impact is recognised as 3* and 4* in REF2021

Research impact is incredibly important for Staffordshire University as we look to make a positive difference in our region and the wider world and improve the quality of life for people living in our communities. Much of our research is people centred and focused on finding solutions to societal problems and we’re proud that this is the case.

Professor Martin Jones, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

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

Overall, 68% of Staffordshire University’s research was judged 3* "internationally excellent" and 4* "world leading", up from 37% in 2014 when the last REF results were announced. In addition, 87% of the University’s research impact has been rated as “very considerable” or “outstanding”, again the two highest categories. This has resulted in a rise of 22 places in the Times Higher League Table to =86.

Staffordshire University entered seven Units of Assessment; Allied Health; Engineering; Archaeology, Business and Management, Social Work and Social Policy; Art and Design and Communication and Cultural Studies. Each unit had research which has been recognised as 4* or “world leading.”

The University is among the top 10 in the UK in terms of Grade Point Average improvement, which is a measure of the overall or average quality of research.

The University rated most highly for Art and Design where 91% of its research was recognised as 4* and 3* and 100% of research impact was judged to be “very considerable” or “outstanding”.

Welcoming the results, Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Jones said: “Research impact is incredibly important for Staffordshire University as we look to make a positive difference in our region and the wider world and improve the quality of life for people living in our communities. Much of our research is people-centred and focused on finding solutions to societal problems and we’re proud that this is the case.

“Our results in Art and Design and Engineering reflect both our heritage and our continuing commitment to the creative industries where we provide real-world benefits. Moving forward, we intend to build our research strengths, align these with our enterprise activities and ensure this underpins all our teaching and learning.

“Cutting edge facilities in the University’s Innovation Enterprise Zone, The Catalyst, Centre for Health Innovation in Stafford and Staffordshire University London provides us with exciting new opportunities to further our research portfolio.”

In total, 109 members of staff and 244 research outputs were submitted into REF 2021. Research outputs includes published research such as books or chapters in books, designs, exhibitions, journal articles, and performance.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Kevin Hetherington, who has specific responsibility for research, added: ”Putting in the best possible REF submission was a huge team effort, and we thank all our researchers and everybody involved in the process which was completed during the pandemic.

“I’m delighted to say that the results provide us with a platform to grow our research activity which is key to our new University strategy and where we want to go as a civic university.”

About REF 2021

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

The REF is undertaken by the four UK higher Education funding bodies including Research England and was managed on behalf of the funding bodies by a UK team based at Research England.

The results also provide benchmarks and public information about the research performance of universities and will be used by funding bodies to allocate research funding to universities. The results of REF are available at www.ref.ac.uk

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