UCL Global


UCL comes second in the UK for research power

12 May 2022

The excellence of research at UCL and its positive real-world impact has improved since 2014, according to the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF) assessment results announced today.

UCL comes second in the UK for research power

UCL has come second in the UK for research power by a measure of average research score multiplied by staff numbers submitted. For this, 93 per cent of our research was graded 4* ‘world leading’ and 3* ‘internationally excellent’. Our research received a 'grade point average' of 3.50 (out of 4) – an improvement from 3.22 in 2014. A total of 3,432 UCL academics submitted to this REF process.

UCL came second in research power only to Oxford (1st) and we maintained our position as top in the UK for research power in medicine, health and life sciences as well as social sciences. Other UK leaders in research power include Cambridge (3rd), Edinburgh (4th), and Manchester (5th).

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. 

The results are significant for benchmarking research excellence across UK institutions and are used by the four UK higher education funding bodies to inform the allocation of around £2billion of public investment in research every year. This Quality Related (QR) funding enables us to invest in the best people and facilities, to provide an environment in which early career researchers can thrive and work with our partners to address the biggest challenges facing humanity. 

Through our interdisciplinary work, UCL researchers have been collaborating with local and international partners on a range of issues – from tackling inequalities and climate change and addressing health challenges including COVID-19, HIV and cancer. They have helped preserve ancient heritage for future generations, transformed social care policy and practice, and worked with industry to supply cutting-edge technology for international space missions.

Dr Michael Spence, UCL President & Provost, said: “This is an incredibly impressive outcome that everyone in our community can feel really proud of. It reflects dedication and hard work, inspired thinking, proactive collaboration and a huge appetite to explore, discover, and create benefit. The result is that we are not only delivering research of an exceptionally high quality but also using it to make a real, tangible difference to lives and societies worldwide.”

Link to the full article.