Research Excellence Framework 2014

The four UK higher education funding bodies allocate about £2 billion per year of research funding to UK universities, based on the quality and volume of each university's research. They aim to support a dynamic and internationally competitive UK research sector that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.

Aims of the Research Excellence Framework

To distribute funds selectively on the basis of quality, the funding bodies assess universities' research through a periodic exercise. This was previously known as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) replaced the RAE. It assessed the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines. The results will be used by the funding bodies to allocate block-grant research funding to universities from 2015-16.

As well as informing funding allocations, the REF provides accountability for public investment in research, demonstrates its benefits, and provides important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of UK universities.

REF2014 key facts

  • 154 UK universities took part. They made 1,911 submissions for:
    • 52,077 academic staff
    • 191,232 research outputs
    • 6,975 impact case studies
  • 36 expert sub-panels reviewed the submissions, overseen by four main panels
  • around £2 billion per year of research funding will be allocated on the basis of the results

Excellence in research

In the 2014 REF (Research Excellence Framework), 100 per cent of the research conducted by Harper Adams University was assessed to be of international quality, with more than 50 per cent either world leading or internationally excellent. The University has excellent infrastructure to support its research including modern laboratories, engineering facilities and ready access to the University Farm, as well as technical staff and a thriving community of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers.