Research Excellence Framework

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

The REF operated for the first time in 2014. It replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which had operated periodically between 1992 and 2008. The next REF takes place in 2021, with submissions due in March 2021.

We have submitted to every research assessment since 1992 and have been pleased to see the quality and scale of our research activity grow over that time. We continue to invest in and support a broad portfolio of excellent research, and the generation of real-world impact that truly makes a difference, and look forward to continuing to demonstrate our excellence in the next REF.

REF 2014

In REF 2014, ARU’s academic excellence was recognised for its great impact . Twelve of the 15 subject areas we submitted were rated as generating world-leading research.

  • Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy
  • Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
  • Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory
  • Business and Management Studies
  • Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management
  • English Language and Literature
  • Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology
  • History
  • Law
  • Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts
  • Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience
  • Social Work and Social Policy

Overall, our improved performance translated into quality-related income from the Government of nearly £2.2m in 2014/15. This was double what we had been allocated the previous year.

View our REF results in full.

REF 2021 preparations

In accordance with REF 2021 requirements, we developed a Code of Practice on Decision Making Processes in the Preparation of Submissions to the Research Excellence Framework 2021, which explains how we determine if eligible colleagues qualify as independent researchers, if they carry a significant responsibility for research in their roles, and how we will select research outputs to be returned. This was approved by Research England in August 2019.

Further information about REF 2021 is available from the Research England REF website.