Outstanding REF results see Swansea climb into UK top 30

Outstanding REF results see Swansea climb into UK top 30

Ref results banner2014 ended with some wonderful news for Swansea University: the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) showed that we have risen into the top 30 of UK universities for the quality of our research. 

REF 2014 gathered information assessing the quality of research in the UK’s higher education institutions. Funding councils use the information to inform decisions on how funds are allocated.  The results also provide accountability for public investment in research and demonstrate its benefits.

  • Swansea research was rated 26th in the UK – up from 52nd in 2008
  • “The biggest leap amongst research-intensive institutions”, says Times Higher.
  • 22nd in the UK for research impact
  • In the top 20 for 7 subjects

Swansea University submitted the work of 400 staff, including 74 early career researchers, across 18 subject areas for assessment in REF 2014.  Evidence included more than 1,400 research papers, book chapters, articles, books, and other published outputs from 63 research groups, as well as more than 50 case studies demonstrating the impact of that research.

Examples of the world-class research submitted by Swansea University for REF 2014 (http://www.swansea.ac.uk/research/ref-2014/)

Commenting on the results, Swansea University Vice Chancellor Professor Richard B Davies said:

“We have achieved our ambition to be a top thirty research University, soaring up the league table to 26th in the UK from 52nd in 2008.  This is the largest climb up the rankings of any research-intensive University in the UK.

Even better than this, Swansea is in 23rd position in the ranking of UK universities, if the results for 3 specialised medical research institutions are excluded.

Swansea University is on a strong upward trajectory, so we expected to see significant improvements in REF, but even we are surprised by the scale of our success. It is extremely gratifying that we have doubled our world-leading research in the six years since the 2008 results, with a third of our research now classed as world-leading.

This ranks us with some of the big players in UK higher education, tying with two and ahead of four Russell Group universities. We have shown that we are strong across academic disciplines, from STEM subjects to arts and humanities.

For the first time, REF judged universities on the effect their research has on the wider world. Ninety per cent of Swansea research was judged to be internationally excellent in its impact, demonstrating our contribution to the city region, the Welsh economy, and internationally.

What the REF 2014 results confirm is that Swansea University research is undoubtedly delivering significant, sustained and valuable economic and societal impact not just within Wales or the UK, but internationally.

I am extremely proud of our colleagues across the University and their achievements and of the way their research is impacting so many lives, and in such a breadth and variety of ways.

This highly successful REF 2014 outcome for Swansea rounds off what has been an extraordinary year for the University.  We have seen increases in research income and student numbers, and have been awarded numerous accolades, including What Uni’s University of the Year, Insider Magazine’s University of the Year for business engagement, and shortlisting for the Times Higher Education University of the Year “Oscar”.

And there are even greater things to come as we prepare to open our new Bay Campus in September 2015.

The New Year heralds a new era and a new status for Swansea University and brings us significantly closer to realising our ambition of becoming a top 200 Global University.”