REF 2021 – Research that matters
12 May 2022
90% of research at Cardiff University is officially world-leading or internationally excellent according to the latest independent assessment of research quality across UK higher education institutions.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results published today (Thursday 12 May 2022) found that the vast majority of the submitted research secured the highest 4* and 3* rating which means that the quality has been independently assessed as being world-leading in terms of originality, significance, and rigour.
- A top 20 university in the UK for the overall quality of our research (19th) impact (11th) and environment (16th)
- 14th in the UK for Research Power which demonstrates the scale and quality of our research
- Cardiff University remains Wales’s leading research-intensive university based on the quality of its research, research power, impact, and environment.
Overall, the percentage of research securing the highest 4* and 3* rating increased by over 3% from REF 2014 and is higher than the sector average of 84% and Welsh average of 83%.
This result comes while nearly doubling the number of academic staff submitted for REF 2021. The submission reflected an inclusive approach to supporting research excellence across all disciplines, achieved by supporting Cardiff researchers to deliver research that matters. This was evidenced by a 100% submission and significant growth of its research community over the REF 2021 period.
Highlights of Cardiff’s REF 2021 performance include:
- Architecture achieved the highest possible score for its research environment, 100% of which was considered conducive to producing research of world-leading quality. 100% of its impact case studies and 93% of its outputs were assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.
- 100% of Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences’ research was deemed world-leading or internationally excellent, and 70% of outputs were regarded as world-leading.
- 96% of Engineering’s overall submission was considered world-leading or internationally excellent securing a position in the top quartile of best performing institutions in the UK.
- 91% of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy’s research was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance, and rigour. With a GPA score of 3.39, it secured an overall position of 16th (out of 90) which secured a position of 4th (out of 90) for Research Power.
- 95% of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience’s research was deemed as either world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance, and rigour. Its research environment was awarded the highest possible score (4.00) and is acknowledged as one that is conducive to producing research of internationally excellent quality, in terms of its vitality and sustainability.
- Business and Management Studies returned 100% of its eligible staff (181 FTE) which, combined with a top quartile GPA, saw it placed 2nd among 108 Business Schools in the UK for Research Power (an indicator of the scale and quality of our submission).
- Law secured 15th in the UK, with an overall GPA of 3.34. The collective impact and wider societal importance of its work is reflected in a 6th position for research impact.
- Education placed 3rd overall and achieved the highest possible score of 4.00 for its research impact. We secured 5th place in the UK for outputs with over 90% of its research considered to be world-leading or internationally excellent.
- English Language and Literature secured 4th place in the UK for its research impact and 5th for research power - an indicator of the scale and quality of our submission. 92% of its submission was rated world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality and significance.
- Communication, Culture and Media Studies, Library, and Information Management secured 2nd place in the UK for its world-renowned research in journalism, media and cultural studies. It earned the highest possible score for its research environment with 95% of its research considered world-leading or internationally excellent.
Explore Cardiff University’s REF 2021 results, broken down by Unit of Assessment (UOAs).
Read the spotlight features of the key Cardiff University impact case studies submitted to REF 2021.