May 12 2022

In its independent assessment of the quality of research across UK universities, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results position the College’s research within the top 25% of research overall, with an increase in the overall measure of research which is classified as 4*, the highest quality, at 42%, up from 30% in 2014.

The REF assessment is based on three criteria; outputs, impact and environment, with output, a judgement of originality, significance and rigour of any form of research published, being the largest measure. The College’s proportion of 4* research outputs has increased to 43% in 2021, from 27% in 2014.

Results for research in each category (Unit of Assessment (UoA)) include:

  • Politics: 64% of research outputs for this UoA was assessed as 4*. This is the highest score achieved in the sector for this UoA
  • Psychology: 100% of impact submitted for this UoA was scored as 4*. Impact is defined as the real-world reach and significance of the research and the benefits it delivers. This is the highest score achieved in the sector for impact in this UoA
  • Computer Science, Music and Drama, and Languages Literatures and Culture have all seen an increase of more than 40% of their research quality categorised as 4*overall
  • Geography and Media Arts have among the very highest results in the UK for 4* research outputs
  • The new Department of Health Studies is already performing well; within the Allied Health UoA, its research was positioned in the top 25% of UK universities for impact
  • The new and growing Department of Electronic Engineering has been recognised as internationally excellent for its research outputs.

Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, said: “The REF 2021 results re-affirm our position as a world-leading research-intensive university. I am particularly pleased with the strength of our 4* research outputs, which have increased by 60% since 2014.

“These results acknowledge the quality of the research carried out by our internationally renowned academics who have collaborated with colleagues across the globe in their quest to respond to complex challenges faced by individuals and humanity as a whole.

“As a College, we are committed to dual excellence in teaching and research, which means our students reap the benefits of being taught by academics who are leading researchers in their fields.

“I would like to thank our academics and their collaborators for their commitment to their research which, as these results show, is starting to make an impact across the world.”

The REF provides a robust and thorough assessment of the quality of universities’ research in all disciplines, providing accountability for public investment in research and demonstrating the benefits of that investment.

Colleagues are invited to an all-staff briefing on the REF2021 results at 11am on Thursday 12 May. Click here to join the meeting.