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Royal Holloway’s research remains within top 25% of all UK research with 88% assessed as 4* and 3* in REF 2021

Royal Holloway’s research remains within top 25% of all UK research with 88% assessed as 4* and 3* in REF 2021

  • Date12 May 2022

In its independent assessment of the quality of research across UK universities, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results position the research of Royal Holloway, University of London, within the top 25% of research overall, with 88% of its research judged to be within the top two categories of 4* and 3*, defining it as either world-leading, or internationally excellent respectively. This is up from 81% in 2014 when the last REF was carried out.

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REF 2021 also shows an increase in the overall measure of research which is classified as 4*, the highest quality; 42% of Royal Holloway’s research has been judged as 4*, 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. Royal Holloway’s 4* research outputs has increased to 43% in 2021, from 27% in 2014.

Results for the university’s 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
  • In the Allied Health UoA, Royal Holloway’s 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.

In Times Higher Education’s (THE) analysis and rankings of the REF 2021 results, Royal Holloway is ranked 15 in the UK for the overall quality of its research outputs. Seven areas of the university’s research have been ranked in the top ten by THE for all the research submitted by the department to REF 2021, these are English, Geography, Media Arts, Music and Drama, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Politics and Psychology.

Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, said: “The REF 2021 results re-affirm Royal Holloway’s 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 university, 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.

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