Brain Sciences


REF 2021: UCL top in the UK for Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience research

12 May 2022

UCL’s research power in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience has been recognised as the best in the UK by today’s Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) results across the three elements of ‘output’, ‘impact’ and ‘environment’.

REF 2021

92% of our research in this area is graded 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’) – up from 83% in the last assessment in 2014. In the 4* ‘world-leading’ category, we saw a particularly impressive leap, with 67% of research recognised in this top category – up from 51% in 2014.

Our research received a GPA (Grade Point Average) of 3.57 (out of 4) ranking us 6th in the UK – an improvement from 13th place in 2014 with a GPA of 3.3 – while our research environment is ranked equal 1st in the UK with a 100% world-leading rating.

The REF is carried out approximately every six to seven years to assess the quality of research across 157 UK universities and to share how this research benefits society both in the UK and globally.

UCL submitted evidence of a breadth of research activities, which included 15 impact case studies from the Faculty addressing areas such as mental health, neurological and eye disease, behavioural change and inequalities.

A total of 3,432 UCL academics were submitted in 32 disciplinary groups to this REF process. Brain Sciences was the largest UCL submission, with 379 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff, up from 287 FTE staff in 2014.

Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences, said:

"This is an outstanding performance and shows how the Faculty’s pioneering research, spanning a diverse range of disciplines, is having real-world impact. I am delighted that we maintained our position as top for research power in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and have improved on our good performance in the last assessment.

"My congratulations and thanks to everyone in the Faculty who played a part in achieving these results, both members of the research community and the professional staff who support them. I am proud that our exceptional research expertise in brain sciences, supported by an outstanding research environment, will enable us to continue to lead the way in making a difference to people’s lives.”

We will be celebrating the impact of our REF research over the next few weeks through our ‘Where research transforms lives’ campaign – a series of podcasts and case studies. Find out more at www.ucl.ac.uk/ref.