The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) allocates around £1.6 billion of funds selectively each year on the basis of research quality and volume. HEFCE and the three other national funding bodies assess universities’ research through a periodic exercise. This was previously known as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and was last conducted in 2008. The assessment process aims 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.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) replaced the RAE. It assessed the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines. As well as informing funding allocations from 2015 onwards, 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: UK 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

REF2014: Our key facts

The University of Huddersfield is celebrating three major achievements in REF2014:

  • More University of Huddersfield staff than ever before were entered for the REF 2014. 262 academic staff took part in this national assessment of the quality of the research undertaken at UK universities - an increase of 143% on 2008.
  • The overall percentage of world leading research submitted by Huddersfield (4*) has increased to 15% in 2014 from 6% in 2008. Our percentage of world class and internationally excellent research (4* and 3*) has increased to 58% from 33%.
  • The University is now in the top half of the UK Research Power league table. Research power is the number of researchers submitted to the REF multiplied by their combined ‘grade point average’ – the average score of all research submitted on a scale of 0-4 – and demonstrates the broad strength of research at an institution. Here the University has made a significant increase in its performance, rising from 97th in 2008 to 68th in the UK from 154 HEIs - the third strongest performance in the UK.

REF 2014 results