UCL News


UCL rated top UK university by research strength in the REF2014

18 December 2014

UCL number 1 REF

UCL is the top-rated university in the UK for research strength in the new Research Excellence Framework 2014 published today, by a measure of average research score multiplied by staff numbers submitted. 

UCL researchers received a ‘grade point average’ of 3.22 (out of 4) and submitted over 2,500 staff to be assessed in REF2014, giving UCL an overall research power greater than both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. 

Other highlights of REF2014 for UCL include:

  • UCL enjoys the greatest amount of 4* (“world leading”) research in Panel A, covering medicine and biological sciences, much of which is conducted in collaboration with our partner hospitals 
  • UCL has the largest amount of academic research activity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics);
  • UCL has the strongest research power and share of 4* research in Panel C, covering social sciences, and overtaking both Oxford University and the LSE for the first time;
  • UCL Economics, UCL Psychology & Language Sciences, UCL Neuroscience, the UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, the UCL Institute of Education, UCL Chemistry and UCL Computer Science are among the university’s top research performers;
  • UCL received a ‘grade point average’ of 3.54 (out of 4) regarding the real-world impact of its research, placing it among the top comprehensive universities rated. 

We pride ourselves on our strength as a multidisciplinary university so it is noteworthy that we have achieved excellent results across such a wide spectrum

Professor Michael Arthur

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, said: “The REF2014 is hugely significant, more so than any league table or university ranking, because it determines the funding that every UK higher education institution will receive in the coming years. These results will allow us to invest further in excellent research, and to further build the mutually beneficial relationship between our research and student education.

“We pride ourselves on our strength as a multidisciplinary university so it is noteworthy that we have achieved excellent results across such a wide spectrum. Our traditional strength in biomedicine is reflected in UCL having the largest share of 4* research assessed by that panel, but we have also performed strongly in disciplines as varied as computer science, built environment, economics and education.”

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research), said: “Our research strength has been rated top not only in the overall results, but in each component: our publications and other outputs, our research environment and our research impact. This reflects the passion and commitment of our researchers – as well as those who provide them with professional support – to fulfil our potential as London’s Global University, both generating applicable knowledge and expanding the potential of human thought and action.”


Media contact

Dominique Fourniol

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 3843

Email: d.fourniol [at] ucl.ac.uk