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REF 2014: UEL doubles its world-leading research activity

REF-Research-Carousel (2)UEL has nearly doubled its output of world-leading research over the past several years, according to a massive new peer review of research at UK universities.

Around 17 per cent of the research UEL submitted to the Research Excellence Framework 2014 was classified as world-leading, the assessment’s highest possible rating. That’s almost twice the nine per cent of UEL research activity placed in the same category in the similar Research Assessment Exercise in 2008.

About 94 per cent of UEL’s research was deemed to be of an at least internationally-recognised level. Almost two-thirds, 62 per cent, was rated as internationally excellent – an increase of almost 20 per cent from 2008.

The REF 2014 results were released this week by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).  The Council does not publish league tables but parts of the media will produce their own rankings from the data.

Through an ongoing strategy of support and investment in research, UEL increased the number of research areas submitted to the assessment process from nine in 2008 to 13 in 2014. UEL also increased the number of staff submitted by almost 20 per cent. The nine submitted last time all saw their evaluations improve.

The results highlighted the presence of world-leading research at UEL in areas such as Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy; Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience; and Communications, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management. More than a third of the research submitted by UEL in the latter unit was ranked as world-leading.

UEL Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Joughin, said: “It’s really gratifying to see an increase not just in the quality but also the volume of the research submitted this time round in what is an ever more competitive environment.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Nora Colton, was also delighted with the REF result.

“It’s not just that we submitted more individuals but the quality of their work has increased and that’s been recognised by the fact that every single unit of assessment saw a positive trend upwards.”

Professor Colton noted the wider impact on the University.

“These are areas where not only is there excellence in research but also excellence in teaching. So we are not only proud of the achievements of our researchers but also that there is a strong correlation between research and teaching.

“And the units that have demonstrated world-leading quality in research are also areas where we have excelled in student satisfaction.”

The real-world impact of UEL’s research was also highly rated, with 22 per cent of activity classified as world-leading. The impact category, which is new to the assessment process, evaluates the reach and significance of research beyond academia.

UEL also saw marked improvement in a number of areas ranging from Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience to Social Work and Social Policy and also Education.

The results of the REF confirm UEL’s position as a research leader among London’s modern universities.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a system for assessing the research done by the UK’s Higher Education Institutions. It replaces the Research Assessment Exercise, which was published in 2008. The deadline for REF submissions was November 2013.

More than 150 higher education institutions were invited to submit research in up to 36 subject areas. The research was assessed in three categories: outputs, impact and environment. Submissions were rated, in the following order, as being of world-leading quality; internationally excellent quality; internationally recognised quality; nationally recognised quality; or “U” for quality that is below the standard of nationally recognised or is not eligible for REF.

UEL submitted research in the areas of allied health profession, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy; psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience; computer science and informatics; general engineering; architecture, built environment and planning; business and management studies; law; social work and social policy; sociology; education; art and design; music, drama, dance, performing arts; communications, cultural and media studies, and library and information management.

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