Skip to main content

Research Excellence Framework

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

What is the REF?

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in the UK higher education institutions.

The REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies. The shared policy aim for research assessment is to secure the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within UK higher education. More information on the REF process can be found here.

Our results in REF 2021

  • Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research.
  • 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.
  • 42% of Royal Holloway’s research has been judged as 4*, up from 30% in 2014.
  • Royal Holloway’s 4* research outputs has increased to 43% in 2021, from 27% in 2014.

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today