REF 2014

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions and is a process of expert review.

Results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) have highlighted the benefit and impact of research produced at Teesside University. The 2014 results showed considerable progress since the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) with the majority of work rated as being world-leading or internationally excellent.

Research produced at Teesside University was considered to have strong impact. 100% of the Social Policy, History and Allied Health submissions, and 90% of the General Engineering submission, was rated as having outstanding or very considerable impact.

Impact accounts for 20% of the evaluation under the REF 2014 and requires higher education institutions to demonstrate the beneficial impact of their research to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life.

The 2014 REF results also highlighted strengths in two new categories submitted for assessment in Art and Design and English Language and Literature.

Teesside University's REF results:

UoA 3 Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy

68% of research rated as world-leading and internationally excellent. Our research has led to significant impact outside academia, with 100% of our impact submission rated as outstanding/very considerable.

UoA 11 Computer Science and Informatics

45% of research recognised as world-leading and internationally excellent.

UoA 15 General Engineering

59% of research recognised as world-leading and internationally excellent. 90% of the impact submission was rated as outstanding/very considerable.

UoA 19 Business and Management Studies

37% of research rated as world-leading and internationally excellent.

UoA 22 Social Work and Social Policy

87% of research rated as world-leading and internationally excellent and Teesside is ranked joint fifth place from 62 submissions for this quality measure.

The submission to Social Work and Social Policy was particularly successful, demonstrating significant improvement in the quality of social science research at Teesside since 2008. The submission focused on SoFI's established research themes of crime and social exclusion. The expert panel concluded that nearly 90% of this work was 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'; the highest two classifications available and Teesside is ranked joint fifth place from 62 submissions for this quality measure. The research was also judged to have substantial and high quality impact in the 'real world', with 100% of this work rated as outstanding/very considerable. Case studies of research impact concentrated on debates about work, welfare and worklessness and about tackling organised crime.

See the Social Work and Social Policy results on the HEFCE website

UoA 29 English Language and Literature

57% of research rated as world-leading and internationally excellent.

  • English research at Teesside is rapidly gaining recognition for excellence in the field of Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture, exploring topics ranging from the Neo-Victorian novel to 'Misfit Moderns' and from British theatre pioneers to music video.
  • A dynamic relationship between teaching and research ensures that English Studies students at Teesside enjoy an innovative and exciting curriculum.
  • Questions of identity are at the heart of research in English at Teesside, which contributes to vital cultural debates about gender, sexuality, ethnicity and religion in contemporary British society.
  • Researchers in English have played a leading role in the development of creative writing in schools, colleges and universities, providing innovative new perspectives on teaching this expanding new subject.

UoA 30 History

73% of research rated as world-leading and internationally excellent and Teesside is ranked joint 35th from 83 submissions for this quality measure.

  • History research has been once again recognised for the highest standards of international research excellence. The REF panel judged that 73% of its work was world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • History scored particularly well in terms of research impact, with 100% of its work in this category rated as having outstanding/very considerable impact.
  • The expert REF panel confirmed a significant improvement on the 2008 scores.
  • Overall, 96% of its research is recognised internationally.

UoA 34 Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory

30% of research rated as world-leading and internationally excellent.

Real World Impact

We are proud to work with University Alliance to demonstrate that Alliance universities have been at the forefront of research and innovation excellence geared towards industry and the professions. Examples of the impact of our research are demonstrated in several case studies which showcase the excellent research happening in Alliance universities and its impact both here in the UK and around the world. These case studies show how Alliance universities are finding new ways to overcome socio-economic challenges: growing industries, improving healthcare, building sustainability and shaping society. Together, these case studies provide compelling evidence that the strength and quality of the UK research ecosystem depends on the government continuing to fund excellence wherever it is found.

View our case studies featured on the University Alliance website:

Busting myths about unemployment and poverty

Reducing surgical risks and saving lives through simple pre-op tests

Saving construction industry millions

Further information

Aims of the Research Excellence Framework

To distribute funds selectively on the basis of quality, the four UK higher education funding bodies assess universities' research through a periodic exercise. This was previously known as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and was last conducted in 2008. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework(REF) replaced the RAE. The REF assesses the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines and the results will be used by the funding bodies to allocate block-grant research funding to universities from 2015-16. As well as informing funding allocations, the REF provides accountability for public investment in research, demonstrates its benefits, and provides important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of UK universities.

REF2014 key facts

154 UK universities took part. They made 1,911 submissions for:

  • 52,077 academic staff
  • 191,232 research outputs
  • 6,975 impact case studies
  • 36 expert sub-panels reviewed the submissions, overseen by four main panels
  • Around £2 billion per year of research funding will be allocated on the basis of the results.

Further information and a link to the outcome for each submission made by all Higher Education Institutions can be viewed on the HEFCE REF2014 website.

As part of the REF exercise, all Higher Education Institutions were required to develop a Code of Practice outlining the procedures for the selection of staff to be returned to REF and addressing equality and diversity issues. The final version of the University's Code of Practice was sent to HEFCE in March 2013.
  Code of Practice (pdf - 246kb)

The University's 2008 submission can be viewed on the RAE website.