The REF assesses the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines. The results provide benchmarks and public information about the research performance of universities, and are used to allocate around £2 billion per year in research funding to universities.
Eighty-two per cent of the University of Winchester’s research submitted to the REF was considered to be of quality that is ‘recognised internationally’ or better in terms of originality, significance and rigour. The overall profile of seven out of eight units included research of ‘world-leading’ (4*) quality, the highest grade possible.
This is a marked improvement on the last exercise of this kind, the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which was conducted in 2008.
History performed particularly strongly in the REF, with 96 per cent of research considered internationally recognised. Education; Communications, Cultural and Media Studies; and Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts also performed well.
For the first time in an exercise of this kind, the REF also assesses ‘Impact’ – the wide-ranging and significant benefits that UK research brings to the economy, culture and society.
A highlight of Winchester’s REF results was the Theology and Religious Studies unit, which has some of its research recognised with the highest grade possible (4*) and a rating of ‘outstanding’ for Impact. Their REF Impact case study showcased work on religion and peacebuilding in Nepal.
“I am delighted that our cutting-edge research has been rated so highly in this research assessment,” said Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester. “The results reflect the strength of research at Winchester and the impact it has on people’s lives nationally and globally. We are proud of our commitment to research and the fact that our students are taught by academics who are leading in their field.”
Professor Simon Jobson, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Winchester added: “As a values-driven institution we are committed to the production of high-quality research that has regional, national and international impact. The REF proves that Winchester has continued to develop the range and quality of its research and we are proud of the performance of all staff entered.”