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Research Excellence Framework 2021

90% of our research has been confirmed as world-leading or internationally excellent by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.


11th in the UK for impact

Our research has real-world benefits for the academic environment and our society.


14th in the UK for research power

Our research power demonstrates the scale and quality of our research.


A top 20 university in the UK

We have been independently assessed for the overall quality of our research, impact and environment.

It is fantastic to see so many areas of excellence, evidencing the strength and significance of our contribution to Welsh and UK research and innovation. What we recognise in these results is the creativity, innovation, and hard work of our academic community, across the breadth of all disciplines. This is part of our ongoing journey to create an inclusive and vibrant research culture where we attract the very best academics and build on the excellence demonstrated by this impressive set of results, working with our many partners to deliver research that matters.
Professor Kim Graham, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Enterprise

Explore our results

Units of assessment

We have submitted to 23 of the 34 units of assessment, reflecting our innovative and interdisciplinary research.

Submissions by academic school

Explore our submissions to the units of assessment by academic school.

About the REF

About the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Discover our research environment

A researcher in the Systems Immunity Research Institute

Transforming research culture

We are making our university a more creative, inclusive, honest and open place to carry out research.

Nurse with a patient in a scanner

Supporting early career researchers

We provide training and careers advice for researchers throughout their career.

Investing in facilities

We're undertaking our biggest campus upgrade for a generation - a £600m investment in our future.

Research with real-world impact

Our researchers are working across disciplines to tackle major challenges facing society, the economy and the environment. These case studies highlight just some of the areas where we are delivering positive research impact.

A firefighter carrying equipment walks away from a fire engine toward a building.

Improving decision-making in the emergency services

Our ground-breaking research has improved how the emergency services think, behave, and respond in emergency situations.

families leave Paris

Reshaping perceptions of the Second World War in France

Individuals’ personal experiences are central to new understandings of this crucial period in history.

Professor Burnap with colleague in data lab

Detecting the DNA of cyberattacks

A collaboration between Professor Pete Burnap and Airbus has led to a completely novel way of detecting and preventing malicious software.