UCL Research


REF 2021

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.

Key results

2nd in the UK for research power (after Oxford)

  • UCL came second in research power, consolidating its position at the top of the table between Oxford (1st) and Cambridge (3rd). 

93% of research is 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'

  • 93 per cent of our research was graded 4* ‘world leading’ and 3* ‘internationally excellent’.

'grade point average' rises from 3.22 to 3.50 (out of 4)

  • Our research received a 'grade point average' of 3.50 (out of 4) – an improvement from 3.22 in 2014.

Submissions by 3,432 UCL academics

  • A total of 3,432 UCL academics submitted to this REF process.

Maintaining top position in the UK for research power in ‘medicine, health and life sciences’ and in ‘social sciences’

  • UCL maintained our position as top in the UK for research power in the main panels of ‘medicine, health and life sciences’ and ‘social sciences’.

Gaining top position in the UK for research power in Laws, Philosophy, and Area Studies (Institute of the Americas)

  • We also saw success in our submissions to Laws, Philosophy, and Area Studies (Institute of the Americas) with all three coming top overall by research graded 4*.

Increased quality of research for 74% of 32 units submitted

  • We saw improvements in our scores within each of the four main panels. Of the 32 subject units assessed across the three elements of ‘output’, ‘impact’ and ‘environment’, 78 per cent increased their score compared to REF 2014 by grade point average - the measure of the overall average quality of research. 

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