Research Excellence Framework 2021

Our research is ranked 30 in the UK – an increase of 23 places since REF2014, and the biggest move within the top 30 universities

To be a researcher is to make a difference. To be a researcher is to change the world. Every day, world-changing research happens right here.

As Citizens of Change, our research excellence is changing lives and having transformative impact across the globe. 

The results of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF2021) acknowledges the power and impact of our research:

  • Our research is ranked 30 in the UK – an increase of 23 places in overall rankings, compiled by Times Higher Education (THE)
  • Our research in Clinical Medicine, History, and Sports and Exercise Science is ranked 2nd in the UK, Museum Studies 3rd, Archaeology 5th, Media 7th and English 11th
  • Leicester’s Archaeology and Biological Sciences research ranked top in the UK for impact, with Clinical Medicine, Sports Science and Sociology all top for research outputs
  • 89% of our research is classed as ‘world-leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*)
  • More than half (52%) of Leicester research assessed as ‘world-leading’ (4*) for its impact
  • Share of Leicester’s research environment, outputs, and overall score assessed as ‘world-leading’ (4*) have all more than doubled since 2014
  • 100% of Chemistry research classed as ‘world-leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*)

Our researchers are dedicated to researching some of today’s most critical issues, from viruses and disease to air quality, preserving our natural world, and ensuring social justice for all. Just as we are diverse in our makeup, we are equally diverse in our research. 

Our six areas of research strength: Space, Human Health, Earth and Environment, Heritage and Culture, Social Justice, and Materials and Molecules allow our researchers to significantly improve lives and societies through the power of their research.

Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF21)

On 12 May 2022 Research England published the results of the REF2021 in which 157 UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) participated. 

The REF is a national assessment of the quality of UK Higher Education research and determines the allocation of c.£2bn Quality-related (QR) funding that these HEIs will receive for the coming years (starting August 2022). REF2021 showcased the University’s outstanding breadth of research over a 7 year period (2014-2020).

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