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Research Excellence Framework

​​​​​​​​​​47% of the university’s research was classified as world-leading or internationally excellent

What is the Research Excellence Framework?

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the exercise for assessing research in the UK and is carried out every six or seven years. The REF was first conducted in 2014, and replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

The team managing the REF on behalf of the UK higher education funding councils is located in Research England, forming part of UK Research & Innovation.

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Find out more on the REF 2021 website

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Find out what REF means to you (key questions for academics and researchers)

University of Gloucestershire REF 2021 outcome

The University is proud of its performance in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

The University made submissions to 13 Units of Assessment (UOA) 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.

Biology student with furry hat on in a field of bluebells looking at a research sample while on field trip.
78% of the University’s Art and Design REF submission was judged world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*), while Sport and Exercise achieved 71% in the top two bands.

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*.

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Find out more and view University of Gloucestershire REF 2021 results on the REF website.

University of Gloucestershire Code of Practice

As part of the preparations for the Research Excellence Framework 2021 all UK universities had to submit a Code of Practice to the REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP) for approval.

The University of Gloucestershire Code of Practice has now been approved and sets out the University of Gloucestershire’s approach to the REF2021 determination of eligible staff and selection of outputs for submission to the Research Excellence Framework 2021.

Specifically, it sets out how the University fairly, and in a transparent, consistent, accountable and inclusive way, goes about:

  • Determining eligible staff (i.e. those with significant responsibility for research);
  • Determining who is an independent researcher;
  • Selecting research outputs. ​
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If you have questions about the Code of Practice, you can contact

Appeals process and staff circumstances

Included in the Code of Practice are details of the appeals process and voluntary declaration of staff circumstances.

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Contacting us about REF 2021

If you have any questions regarding REF at the University of Gloucestershire, please contact one of our institutional contacts​.​​