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Second in the UK for research quality

12 May 2022

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The School of Journalism, Media and Culture has placed 2nd in the UK for the quality of its communication, cultural and media studies research in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Having also achieved 2nd in the REF’s last assessment in 2014, the school has maintained its position as a world-leading research centre.

The school also achieved the highest possible score for the quality of its research environment.

The REF assessment panel explored a broad range of published research, spanning work on journalism and democracy, the implications of developing technologies, and creative industry innovation.

The school successfully maintained its position as a world-renowned centre of communications research while also more than doubling the number of staff submitted for assessment.

The results also mean the school is Wales’ highest placed research centre in any subject area.

Head of School Matt Walsh said, "I am delighted our excellence in research and the strength of our research environment and impact have again been recognised.”

“The School of Journalism, Media and Culture is unique - combining a creative and supportive learning environment that produces world-leading research with excellence in both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. We feel there's nowhere else quite like it."

Research environment

New research initiatives such as the Data Justice Lab, developed by recently appointed academic staff, demonstrated to the panel the long-standing supportive research environment created by the school and highlighted a commitment to staff realising their vision as research leaders.

Co-Director of Research Professor Jenny Kitzinger said, “We are thrilled to be awarded the highest possible score for our research environment.”

“This demonstrates that our success has long been underpinned by a supportive, inclusive environment, enabling colleagues to produce original, significant and rigorous research.”

Research output

Over sixty separate research publications or outputs were assessed by a panel of the UK’s leading communications and media studies scholars resulting in the school being placed third for the quality of its outputs.

Co-Director of Research Professor Stephen Cushion said, “We are immensely proud of colleagues for the range and depth of their research in journalism, media and culture. That 95% of our research outputs were classified as either world leading or internationally excellent demonstrates our collective strength as a school”.

Research impact

The school has contributed extensively to the university’s civic mission by responding to some of the major challenges faced by society and undertaking work for public good. This research work has been reflected with a top-five position in the UK for impact on communities, policy and culture.

The university’s Dean of Research Environment and Culture Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen said, “From improving decision-making for patients in vegetative and minimally conscious states to working with community media to produce sustainable journalism, as well as national broadcasters and media regulators to raise standards in news reporting, we are delighted that the school’s research impact has been recognised.”

Eighty-three percent of the school’s research was considered to be outstanding in terms of its reach and significance.

Find out more

The REF is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It first took place in 2014.

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REF assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The impact of our research and environment in which we work at Cardiff University were integral to our REF 2021 submission.