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‘Internationally excellent’ research across all areas at University of Gloucestershire

All University of Gloucestershire subject areas were judged as having ‘internationally excellent’ research in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) published today, with many submissions rated as world leading.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national (UK) exercise to assess the quality of research at universities, and the outcomes are used to determine a large proportion of public funding for research.

The University made submissions to 13 Units of Assessment for REF 2021, more than doubling the number of subject areas submitted to the last REF in 2014, with all UOAs judged to have at least some internationally excellent work of 3* quality.

47% of the University’s total REF submission was judged world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*), with the Art and Design submission rated as 78% 3 or 4* and Sport and Exercise achieving 71% in the top two bands.

For the first time, the REF included the submission of all staff with significant responsibility for research, and the number of University staff submitting research for REF 2021 more than doubled from 2014, from 56 to 127 FTEs. That represented an increase of 127%, compared with a national increase in staff submitted of 46%.

Three areas are assessed to give an overall REF score – outputs, impacts and research environment. When rated specifically for the quality of research outputs, 10 of the University’s 13 UOA submissions were rated 50% or higher world leading or internationally excellent, with Sport and Exercise rated 87% 3 or 4*.

When rated specifically for research impact, seven UOAs scored 50% or more 3/4*, with Art and Design achieving 100% on that metric.

Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor of University of Gloucestershire, said: “The progress we have made since 2014 in building the scale of our research activity is impressive. These REF ratings are welcome evidence of the quality of our research across a broad range of disciplines.  Our staff can be immensely proud that the quality and impact of their research has been so highly rated.

“At University of Gloucestershire, the student experience is enriched by working in an environment underpinned by the latest research and professional practice. We encourage exchange between teaching and research, ensuring our curriculum reflects the latest advances.

“Being increasingly active in research benefits not only our students and staff, but also our wider community. Many of our research programmes involve collaborations with partners locally, regionally and globally, ensuring our research is applied and makes a positive impact on people’s lives.”

In total, 157 UK universities participated, submitting over 76,000 academic staff. Submissions included research outputs, examples of the wider benefits of research and evidence about the research environment. This material was assessed by a series of expert panels comprising UK and international researchers, external users of research and experts in interdisciplinary research.

The 13 Units of Assessment to which the University made submissions are:

For more information about University of Gloucestershire’s research activity visit