Research Excellence Framework Results

18 December 2014
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Ref-image-smallIt’s a big day for the 154 UK higher education institutions that have been awaiting today’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) results.

These results will have a significant impact on higher education institutions, as they will be used to allocate research funding from 2015-16. This is the first year that REF has been used, replacing the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) that was last conducted in 2008.

In a much debated change from the past RAE process, this year’s REF has assessed not just the quality of the academic output from UK institutions’ research, but its impact too.  Universities have had to demonstrate how their excellent research has had a positive influence on economic growth, health and social well being too.  This blend of output and impact has proved quite a leveller with some previously less-renowned institutions earning their stripes. As always, the devil is in the detail.

Every year the four UK higher education funding bodies allocate approximately £2 billion in research funding. Today’s Research Excellence Framework results are therefore hugely significant for HE institutions and the funding they will receive, which may be why institutions have spent an estimated £47 million on the exercise. The results will also determine the incalculable measure of which institutions can describe themselves as ‘world-leading’.  Encouragingly, 72% of the UK’s research outputs were classed as either world leading or internationally excellent – a very significant improvement from the 51% in the 2008 results.

The Association of Business Schools (ABS) has responded to the strong performance by the UK’s business schools in the REF by calling on the Government and the funding councils to reverse the decline in funding for business and management research. The Chair of ABS, Professor Angus Laing believes ‘[the] REF results demonstrate the strength, impact and value that business and management research achieves right across the economy and on the wider society.’

This strong response from The Association of Business Schools (ABS) to the Research Excellence Framework will be of particular interest to our clients Henley Business School and Imperial College Business School. Click here to see the full ABS press release.

You can view the full results here, on The Research Excellence Framework website.

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