Research Excellence Framework 2021
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. Research is assessed overall and across three individual measures:
- quality of research outputs (e.g. publications, performances, and exhibitions)
- their impact beyond academia
- the environment that supports research.
Results of the most recent REF for 2021, announced in May 2022, confirm the University of Reading's place as a leading research-intensive university in a competitive UK research environment. The work of 754 staff was submitted for assessment across 22 subject areas (known as Units of Assessment), including over 1,660 research outputs and 72 case studies of our external impact – working with hundreds of technicians, postgraduate research students and their supervisors, PDRAs, and professional staff.
Our research (overall outputs, impact and environment) was assessed as:
- 40% world-leading (4*)
- 46% internationally excellent (3*)
- 13% recognised internationally (2*)
- 2% recognised nationally (1*).
This represents an 10% increase in 3* and 4* research since the last REF assessment in 2014, with Reading increasing its position among UK universities. In addition, we were placed 35 out of 157 institutions in the UK by research power, a measure of the quality and quantity of research.