Aerial image of Swansea University’s Bay and Singleton Campus with the REF2021 Research Excellence Framework logo at the centre.

The publication of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF2021) results today (12 May) shows that Swansea University has improved the proportion of its world-leading and internationally excellent research. In the 2021 assessment, 86% of the University’s overall research was rated as 4*, (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent) - up from 80% in the previous REF exercise in 2014.

REF2021 provides a national picture of research quality in Universities across the UK. Swansea was one of 157 UK institutions who participated in REF2021, where quality of published research, wider impact and benefits of research and the quality of the research environment were assessed. Each university’s submission was assessed by a series of expert panels comprising UK and international researchers, external users of research and experts in interdisciplinary research.

The REF2021 results show that Swansea University has increased the quality of its published research outputs, with 85% being assessed as world-leading and internationally excellent, climbing from 76% in 2014.

The University continues to be recognised for the impact of its research, for example how its research provides benefits beyond academia to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment and quality of life. Overall, 86% of the University’s impact was assessed as world-leading and internationally excellent.

The University was also recognised for the quality of its research environment, which encompasses the people, infrastructure, resources and activities that support research and enable impact. 91% of Swansea’s overall environment submission is recognised as world-leading and internationally excellent.

The research community at Swansea has also expanded, with the University submitting the work of a record number of 578 researchers for assessment to REF2021, representing a 56% increase on the 370 submitted in 2014.

Professor Helen Griffiths, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation said:

“Our results reflect a significant, overall increase in research activity at Swansea. We have seen a 97% increase in the number of PhDs awarded since REF2014, and our research income has increased by 160% in the same period, from £148m to £286m. Internationally, our global reputation as a collaborative research partner is flourishing, with our academic and business networks now covering 127 countries, and 54% of our research outputs are internationally co-authored.”

Professor Paul Boyle Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University said:

“The REF2021 results are an endorsement of the vibrancy of our research environment and the impact of our research in Wales, across the UK and globally. They show that we remain a strong, research-intensive institution and we are immensely proud of everyone across our community who has contributed to the increase in the proportion of our research ranked as world-leading or international excellent. There is a great deal of which we can be proud.”

Full results of Swansea’s performance in the REF2021 can be found here.

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