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Research Excellence Framework

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The is the principal means of finding out which individuals, departments and institutions are producing the most excellent research in the UK.

REF is the successor to the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

REF Assessment

About the Research Excellence Framework

The REF assesses research excellence by focusing on three elements considered by an independent expert review:

  • The quality of research outputs (60%)
  • The reach and significance of the impact of research (25%)
  • The quality and strengths of the research environment (15%)

The assessment is based on the degree to which research is:

  1. Recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour
  2. Recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour
  3. Internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour
  4. World-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour

Universities enter Units of Assessment defined by REF.

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