Our submissions

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the research taking place across UK universities. The process takes place every seven years and looks at three areas of assessment:

  1. Quality of research outputs – e.g., publications, performances and exhibitions (60 per cent of the assessment)
  2. Impact of research beyond academia – its effect on, change, or benefit to the economy, society, policy, culture and quality of life (25 per cent of the assessment)
  3. Research environment – the vitality and sustainability of an institution’s research environment, including strategy, staff development, infrastructure, and collaboration (15 per cent of the assessment).

Every university is required to make an institutional submission to REF which is broken down into 34 disciplinary units, known as Units of Assessment (UoAs). These are organised into four main panels:

  • Main Panel A: Medicine, health and life sciences
  • Main Panel B: Physical sciences, engineering and mathematics
  • Main panel C: Social sciences
  • Main Panel D: Arts and humanities

City submitted 1,186 academic outputs (such as journal articles) and 47 impact case studies from 536 staff by headcount (496 FTE) to 13 Units of Assessment.

Our results

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework 2021, City has almost doubled the proportion of its research that is rated world-leading.

86per cent

of City’s research is now rated as 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent) – a 10 per cent increase from REF 2014.

City is39th

in the UK out of 129 universities according to the Times Higher Education rankings, an increase of 12 places since REF 2014.

City is30th

for Outputs out of 129 universities – an increase of 18 places since REF 2014 (excluding specialist institutions).

Professor Miguel Mera, Vice-President (Research) at City says “I am delighted with today’s results which show an improvement in our research standing since 2014, highlighting the value of the work we have done to support our excellent staff and invest in our research capabilities.”

“The results also demonstrate our successful leadership of collaborations and networks with academic and non-academic partners, both from within the UK and internationally. Our research is often created in partnership with other leading universities and supported by national and international funders, such as UKRI, the European Commission, the National Institute for Health Research, the Wellcome Trust, and across business and industry.”

You can find a breakdown of City’s REF 2021 results by units of assessment here.

REF 2021 definitions

REF assessments are a process of peer review, carried out by an expert sub-panel in each Unit of Assessment. Every element submitted to the REF will be graded on a scale from 4* (world-leading) to unclassified (did not meet the REF criteria).

REF 2021 consists of three main elements:

Outputs – This makes up 60 per cent of the assessment and consists of research outputs produced by the University during the assessment period (1st January 2014 to 31st December 2020).

Impact – This makes up 25 per cent of the assessment and consists of case studies detailing the benefits from our research.

Environment – This makes up the remaining 15 per cent of the assessment and describes the vitality and sustainability of the environment we have to support our research, including strategy, staff development, infrastructure and collaboration.

Grade Point Average (GPA) – The grades that awarded for each of these elements contributes to an overall grade point average (GPA). There is a GPA for each UoA and one for the University as a whole. The GPA is out of 4. These GPAs are then used for calculating the amount of QR funding the University receives and by a number of league tables.

Note: rankings and change in position may vary slightly compared to figures published in external publications. Whilst publications may base rankings and movement on rounded scores, all figures on City’s REF dashboards are based on unrounded data for both REF 2021 and REF 2014.