The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It is conducted every six years, and for REF2014, the research of 154 UK universities was assessed, which included input from over 50,000 members of academic staff and almost 200,00 research outputs.
Submission to the REF is split into 36 different Units of Assessment (UOA) depending on the research area. For example, UOA 11 covers all submissions relating to computer sciences and informatics. A group of independent experts assessed the submissions for each UOA, reviewing them according to a set of assessment criteria.
The primary purpose of REF 2014 was to assess the quality of research and produce outcomes for each submission made by the institutions. The four higher education funding bodies will then use the assessment outcomes to inform the allocation of funding to each of the institutes, with effect from 2015-16. In short, the better the performance in REF, the more income that will be made available for research.
Overall the Faculty of Science & Engineering performed admirably, submitting research from around 100 different academic members of staff, with approximately 65% of them having their research judged to be operating at an internationally excellent (and above) level.
Some of the highlights across the faculty included:
Unit of Assessment 3 – Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy: placed 12th in the UK (out of 94 submissions) according to the Times Higher. Over 60% of their outputs were deemed to be internationally excellent or world leading (in 2008 this figure was just over 30%, representing almost a 100% increase) and an impressive 100% of their impact was graded as internationally excellent or world leading. Their case studies can be found here
Unit of Assessment 15 – General Engineering: managed to significantly increase their internationally excellent and world-leading quality research, with over 65% of their research outputs now deemed to be of this standard. 87% of their impact was deemed to be internationally excellent and above. Their case studies can be found here.
Unit of Assessment 23 – Sociology: 63% of their outputs were internationally excellent or world-leading and 100% of their impact was at an internationally excellent and world-leading level, including this case study from our Faculty’s cultural geographers.
So overall it was an extremely satisfying end to 2014, with the hard work of a large group of people, helping to ensure that the Faculty of Science & Engineering, and MMU as a whole, continues to operate as a university of world-class professionals.
January 8th, 2015 - 16:22pm