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Outstanding results for University of Greenwich research

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The University of Greenwich has performed strongly in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) results announced today, showing significant improvement in its research quality and volume across all subject areas.

REFThe University of Greenwich has performed strongly in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) results announced today, showing significant improvement in its research quality and volume across all subject areas.

In this Covid-delayed REF, Greenwich has increased its score from the last REF in 2014 in all Units of Assessment submitted. The university has also doubled the number of staff with significant responsibility for research to 400 for the 2021 assessment.

The REF is a national exercise that assesses research quality based on expert review. For each submission, three distinct elements are assessed: the quality of outputs (eg publications, performances, and exhibitions), their impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research.

Overall, the university has improved its ranking in the sector from REF2014 by 25 places based on grade point average, taking it to joint 78 place (data taken from the Times Higher Education), which is the fourth highest increase nationally.

Outputs

There were increases in proportion of internationally excellent or world-leading quality outputs across all Units of Assessment.

Over 80% of the outputs assessed in two submissions - English Language and Literature and Engineering - were scored as internationally excellent and world-leading. These were the highest scores across the 12 sole submissions made by the university.

Impact

All of the Greenwich impact case studies assessed in the Law Unit of assessment were considered outstanding in terms of the reach and significance of the impacts described (the highest grade).

The impact case studies in four units of assessment - Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science; Anthropology and Development Studies; Chemistry and Law - were scored as 100% outstanding or very considerable in terms of the reach and significance of the impacts described.

Of the 12 Units of Assessment submitted to by Greenwich, 10 had the majority of their impact profile ranked as outstanding or very considerable in terms of the reach and significance of the impacts they described.

Environment

Greenwich improved its league table postion for the environment element of the assessment from 111th to joint 67thwhich is the largest improvement nationally (data taken from the Times Higher Education).

The research environments of three units of assessments, namely Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science; Anthropology and Development Studies; and Allied Health Professions, were rated at 100% internationally excellent or world-leading, in terms of vitality and sustainability.

University of Greenwich Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane Harrington, said: “It is fantastic to see such outstanding improvement in both our research quality and quantity across every subject area assessed by REF2021. In particular, our overall performance in the ‘impact’ and ‘environment’ elements of the assessment, which saw the biggest increases in the scoring.

“We are committed to delivering world-leading, rigorous and impactful research that matters, and the results clearly demonstrate that we are doing that. It’s absolutely testament to the hard work and dedication of staff across the university. I’m extremely proud of our collective achievements and delighted to see them recognised today.”

Broadly speaking, REF results demonstrate impact of research beyond academia. Results inform resource allocation by Research England. The REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies: Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE). The first one was in 2014, replacing the previous Research Assessment Exercise.

The aim “is to secure the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within UK higher education”.

There are 34 subject-based units of assessment, split into four groups:

  • Medicine, health and life sciences
  • Physical sciences, engineering, mathematics
  • Social sciences
  • Arts and humanities

Greenwich’s full results are here: https://results2021.ref.ac.uk/profiles/institutions/10007146