REF2014 results confirm Bath’s research excellence

The results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) have confirmed the excellence of the research undertaken at the University of Bath and further enhanced our reputation as a leading research University.

The REF provides a robust and thorough assessment of the quality of universities’ research in all disciplines through peer review of the research of 52,061 academic staff from 154 UK universities.

Key findings for Bath include:

  • 32 per cent of our submitted research activity achieving the highest possible REF classification of 4*, defined as world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
  • 87 per cent of submitted research activity being graded 4*/3* (defined as world-leading/ internationally excellent).
  • An overall GPA (grade point average, which provides a summary measure of the profile above) of 3.17

These results place the University of Bath 12th in the research quality ranking of UK universities (based on GPA), excluding specialist institutions.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, said: “The University has performed outstandingly well. It is clear that our research is very strong in delivering real-world impact - making a real difference to our world whether that is economic, social or cultural.

“These results put us in a strong position to continue to deliver leading research and attract new funding in a very competitive environment.”

The University is in the top 10 of six of the 13 Units of Assessment in which we participated and in the top 20 in 11. It is also ranked first in the UK for Architecture, Built Environment and Planning.

Other areas of excellence include:

  • Sports & Exercise Science – ranked fifth;
  • Allied Health (which for Bath covers Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Psychology, Biology & Biochemistry & Health) – ranked sixth;
  • Social Policy and Social Work (which for Bath also includes Health, Economics, Education and Psychology) – ranked sixth;
  • Business Studies and Management – ranked eighth;
  • Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering – ranked tenth.

Professor Dame Breakwell added:

“Overall our scores for the reach and significance of the impact of our research show this to be a particular area of strength for Bath.

“Changes since the last such exercise took place (RAE 2008) mean these results require very careful interpretation before firm conclusions can be drawn but it is already clear that in several areas we are realising the benefit of investment in our research capabilities and capacity.

“Strategic initiatives such as the launch of the Institute for Policy Research and the development of new facilities for Architecture and Civil Engineering, Psychology and Management will help us to build further on our evident strengths.

“I would like to express my appreciation to everyone who contributed to this successful REF 2014 return.  It was a challenging task which required considerable thought, care and dedication by so many colleagues across the University.  I would particularly like to thank Professor Jane Millar, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) for her leadership of our research strategy.”

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