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Research Excellence
Framework (REF)

We're committed to transforming lives through innovative, inclusive and entrepreneurial education and research. The REF 2021 results highlight the impact our research has on people’s lives - as we focus on tackling real-world issues, and improving the societies we live in.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, and is carried out every six to seven years.

REF 2021 results were published on 12 May 2022, and they confirm that we have significantly increased the quality and impact of our research.

ARU submitted research in sixteen subject areas, and nine of those were judged to have achieved world-leading 'impact' – that is the change or benefit they have made to the wider world. Every subject area included some research rated as world-leading.

We’re incredibly proud of our staff and the life-changing research they are carrying out. Here, you can read a series of case studies that illustrate the depth and breadth of research work being conducted out at ARU.

Three older people and a carer playing instruments in a music therapy session
Human eye seen sideways on

Developing a framework for genocidal intent

Explore Dr Aldo Zammit Borda and Dr Alexander R J Murray's work

Embedding food system sustainability into policy

Explore Prof Aled Jones and his team's work

Enhancing criminal justice processes in rape trials

Explore Dr Olivia Smith's work

Increasing understanding of environmental issues

Explore Allan Drummond's work

Helping local government create new revenue streams

Explore Dr Richard Carr's work

Helping military families thrive

Explore Prof Matt Fossey and his team's work

Improving health of homeless through exercise

Explore Prof Lee Smith's work on homeless people's health

Improving health through reducing sitting time

Explore Prof Lee Smith's work on reducing sitting time

Influencing innovation in digital telecommunications

Explore Prof Emanuele Giovannetti's work

Influencing policy development across the digital divide

Explore Prof Rohan Kariyawasam's work

Making higher education inclusive for carers

Explore Prof Marie-Pierre Moreau's work

Raising awareness of water systems resilience

Explore Dr Maryam Astaraie-Imani and her team's work

Raising the profile of almshouses as social housing

Explore Dr Federica Pascale and Dr Alison Pooley's work

Reducing the environmental impact of single-use plastics

Explore Dr Dannielle Green and her team's work

Reducing the fire risk from emollient-impregnated fabrics

Explore Dr Sarah Hall and Jo Morrissey's work

Shaping EU energy research and innovation funding

Explore Chris Foulds and his team's work

Widening understanding of authorial practice in illustration

Explore Prof Martin Salisbury's work

Wonderlands old and new: celebrating Lewis Carroll's Alice

Explore Prof Eugene Giddens's work
Join our research community: explore postgraduate research programmes at ARU

Get in touch

Contact us if you would like to learn more about our REF results, collaborate with us on research or access our expertise to support your business.

Our submissions to REF2021 were developed in accordance with our Code of Practice (PDF) and subjected to an Equality Impact Assessment (PDF).

View ARU's results in full on the REF2021 website