Council monitors our performance and progress by referencing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for our most important activities. This report refers to a number of these indicators, whereas the financial performance indicators as agreed by Council are reported separately in the Financial Review. Council, through the dialogue with stakeholders as part of the “Our University, Our Future strategy review will be approving performance indicators to support the strategy. In our current KPIs we focus on the five key areas of our current Strategy, thereby providing Council with sufficient assurance of our performance in areas such as financial sustainability, access and compliance. The five areas can be summarised as follows: research power; international influence; graduate education; student experience; and infrastructure.

League table performance

National and International rankings are one of the key performance indicators we monitor. We have maintained and enhanced our high position in national league table rankings, these are increasingly competitive as Universities recognise the importance of these rankings in attracting new domestic students. We are proud of our achievement to be ranked in the top ten in each of the three major national rankings.

Our international rankings are also consistent with last year and these are illustrated below.

Current ranking Previous ranking Publication
Domestic rankings
6th 6th Guardian University Guide 2021
9th 9th Complete University Guide 2021
9th 11th Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021
International rankings
173rd 172nd Quacquarelli Symonds 2021 (QS)
201-250 251-300 Times Higher Ranking 2021


Average tariff scores are used to monitor the quality of our home/EU undergraduate intake and are sourced from The Times & Sunday Times University Guide.

Year of Guide Entry Standard Score Ranking
2021 174 12
2020 182 12
2019 186 10

The table above reflects our popularity as a destination. We have retained both our high entry standard score and intake during years when the demographic for 18-year olds in the UK has fallen.

Satisfaction rates %

Satisfaction rates graph

The quality of our teaching is measured by reference to students who either ‘definitely’ or ’mostly’ agree with the National Student Survey (NSS) question ”Overall I am satisfied with the quality of my course.” In 2020, we increased our score to 88.3% (previously 87.3%) compared to a sector average, which was in the mid 80’s. We are working hard to improve student experience and we believe the strategy we have in place will continue to improve this metric.

Continuation rates %

Continuation rates graph

Continuation rates are used as a proxy for student satisfaction and the effectiveness of our student support and welfare structures. At 96.2% (96.1% 2016-17), we continue to perform at a high level when compared to the sector as a whole and our peers whose average was 94.9%.


Grant and contract income per academic FPE (£000s)

Grant and contract income per academic graph

We use grant and contract income per academic FPE (Full Person Equivalent) as a measure of research activity. The chart shows a reduction of 9.1% to £24.6k (£27.0k 2018-19). This reflects our increased investment in academic staff and the reduction in income as a result of COVID19.

For data relating to academic FPE provisional data is shown for 2019-20.

Postgraduate research students per academic (FPE)

Postgraduate research students per academic graph

Postgraduate research students per academic FPE is another measure of our research performance and we have maintained at 0.8 in 2019-20. The modest fall reflects the increase in newly appointed academic staff rather than a fall in research students.

For data relating to academic FPE provisional data is shown for 2019-20.

IP/ Industrial income per academic (£000s)

IP/ Industrial income per academic graph

Intellectual property (IP) and industrial research income per academic is a measure of the commercialisation of our research activity. In 2019-20 this ratio was £2.3k per academic (2018-19 £2.6k) and this modest reduction reflects more our increase in academic staff than a fall in industrial income against the previous year. Our investment in Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) will see this measure increase further in years to come, as our industrial research activity is expected to grow significantly.


Gross internal area in condition A&B %

Gross internal area in condition graph

We monitor the condition of our estate as a measure of the quality of the space we provide. At 91% we perform well above the 79% average of our Higher Education (HE) peer group. We have undertaken a Condition Survey of the full estate and this is currently being reviewed to determine the priority areas for future capital investment.

Capital additions £m

Capital additions graph

Capital additions were £66.3m.

We have continued to invested significantly in our building and equipment (including digital) infrastructure this year, most notably with investment in the new School of Management building and the IAAPS research facility.

At £10.5m (£9.7m 2018-19) we have continued to invest significantly in equipment to support our activities.

Percentage frequency of use of teaching space

Percentage frequency of use of teaching space graph

The % frequency of use of teaching space measures the effectiveness of our timetabling and teaching space management processes. With the growth in student numbers, we have seen a fall in the utilisation of smaller rooms which make up most of our general area teaching space. At the same time a significant increase in utilisation of larger lecture theatres and pc labs and it is this change in the mix of space utilisation that has resulted in the fall in this metric over time.

The 63% frequency of use compares favourably with our peer institutions.

Post COVID19 we are working hard to repurpose all our space and ensure it is used as efficiently and safely as possible to meet the needs of our community.


Water use per m2 of Gross Internal Area

Water use per m2 of Gross Internal Area graph

Water use per unit of building floor area is a measure of one of our key environmental impacts but normalised to take account of growth in our Estate. Water use in 19/20 fell due to COVID19 and is also an estimated figure as the main campus supply was being upgraded.

Through efficiency work our consumption continues to fall. Actual consumption has fallen over the last 15 years despite the University growing significantly (floor area up by 40%), and the normalised figure has been halved over this period.

Carbon emissions by m2 of Gross Internal Area

Carbon emissions  graph

Carbon emissions per unit of building floor area is a measure of our direct carbon footprint due to energy use, normalised again to take account of campus expansion. The lockdown due to COVID19 had a clear impact, although energy use was still significant during this period. The decarbonisation of the UK electricity grid through greater use of renewables has also helped – our emissions due to electricity use have halved in recent years purely due to this.

Through efficiency work our footprint has continued to fall – absolute emissions have fallen by a third over the last 15 years despite significant growth, and the normalised figure has more than halved.

The future pace of reduction will need to be significantly quicker, however, to achieve our new ambitious carbon targets where we aim to have net zero energy emissions by 2030.