Research Impact


Research Excellence Framework 2021

UCL's world-leading research has been recognised in the Research Excellence Framework 2021. Explore our outstanding results and details of submitted case studies spanning UCL's breadth of disciplines.


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.

UCL is 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. See the full REF 2021 results.

UCL President & Provost Dr Michael Spence shares this video message (below) on UCL's excellent REF 2021 results.

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UCL submitted evidence of a breadth of research activities including 8,052 research outputs such as journal articles, books, designs, exhibitions and performances. We also shared 194 impact case studies showcasing diverse impact across every faculty to combat the most pressing global challenges of our time, and we provided evidence of the environment that enables us to deliver world-leading research. See more on REF 2021 submissions.


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 also helped preserve ancient heritage for future generations, transformed social care policy and practice, worked with industry to supply cutting-edge technology for international space missions, and much more.

You can browse our impact case studies below – and listen to our new podcast series.  

Browse our REF 2021 impact case studies


View all case studies


Case studies by faculty