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REF 2014: The results

December 2014

This document sets out the main results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

Printed copies have been sent to higher education institutions.

To: Heads of publicly funded higher education institutions in the UK
Of interest to those responsible for: Research
Reference: REF 01.2014
Publication date: December 2014
Enquiries from staff at UK higher education institutions: E-mail the relevant UK funding body
Other enquiries:

REF Team, tel 0117 931 7477


Table of contents and executive summary (read online)


  • Introduction
    • Executive summary
    • Overview of the results
    • Overview of the assessment
  • Results: the overall quality profiles for each unit of assessment
  • Annexes
    • Annex A Assessment criteria and level definitions
    • Annex B UOA average quality profiles

Executive summary


1.   This document sets out the main results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Key points

2.   The REF is the new system for assessing the quality of research in publicly funded UK higher education institutions (HEIs). It replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), last conducted in 2008.

3.   The results of the 2014 REF demonstrate the high quality and enhanced international standing of research conducted in UK HEIs. The results show that the quality of submitted research outputs has improved significantly since the 2008 RAE, consistent with independent evidence about the performance of the UK research base. The results also demonstrate the wide range of outstanding social, economic and cultural impacts that research has contributed to.

4.   This document reports the overall quality profiles awarded to the 1,911 submissions made to the REF. Further detailed results and analysis are available at under ‘Results & submissions’.

Action required

7.   This document is for information. No action is required by HEIs.

Further information

8.   The following material is available at

  • Full results: The overall quality profile and the outputs, impact and environment sub-profiles awarded to each submission.
  • Analysis: Summary data about each unit of assessment and analysis of the REF results as a whole.
  • Submissions: The submissions made by all HEIs, including the names of submitted staff, details of the outputs, the impact case studies and information about the research environment (available from January 2015).
  • In addition, a searchable database and an analysis of the submitted impact case studies will be available from spring 2015.
  • Overview reports: A report by each main panel and its sub-panels, providing an overview of the assessment and the state of research in their discipline areas (available from January 2015).
  • Background information: Guidance to institutions and panels, and other material such as the membership of the panels.

9.   Other enquiries should be addressed to