Research Excellence Framework

Excellent research is at the heart of everything we do. Our commitment to innovation and research is demonstrated through years of high-quality research which has a positive impact regionally, nationally and internationally.  
 
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is an assessment of research within the United Kingdom. It identifies and celebrates research excellence, and at the University of Derby, we are proud to be a part of it.  
   
REF 2021 saw an increased volume of staff and quality of research outputs submitted which evidenced the breadth and depth of our research. We submitted 27 impact case studies across ten Units of Assessment, which show our applied research expertise and demonstrate our civic commitment and the impact of our knowledge exchange delivery.

What is the REF?

Professor Warren Manning, Provost Innovation and Research, explains what the REF results are and how they impact all aspects of the University. 

Video that explains what the Research Excellence Framework is.

View Research Excellence Framework (REF) - what is it all about? video transcript

REF 2021 results

We are ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ in aspects of all ten of our Units of Assessments, with four units rated at 60% or above for their ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ research.  
 
The difference we make in our communities and industry on a regional, national and international level is critical, so we welcomed the impressive results that saw all of our Units of Assessment submissions achieve recognition of 3* (very considerable) impact in terms of reach and significance, and six Unit of Assessment achieving 4* (outstanding) level of impact.  

Highlights

Some of the highlights in our REF 2021 performance include:

  • 67% of our research in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences is ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ 
  • 63% of our research in Education is ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ 
  • 60% of our research in Allied Health Professions is ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ 
  • 60% of our research in Art and Design is ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ 
  • 74% of our research in Computer Science and Informatics is 'world-leading' and 'internationally excellent' in terms of originality, significance and rigour  
  • 71% of our research in Social Work and Social Policy is ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour’  
  • 69% of our research in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences is ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour’   
  • 66% of our research in Art and Design is ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour’
  • 62% of our research in Engineering is 'world-leading' and 'internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour'
  • 100% of our research impact in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences is classified as 4* (‘outstanding’) and 3* (‘very considerable’) in terms of its reach and significance  
  • 83% of our research impact in Education is classified as 4* (‘outstanding’) and 3* (‘very considerable’) in terms of its reach and significance  
  • Over 66% of our research impact in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience has achieved a 3* (‘very considerable’) 
  • 75% of Education research environment is classed as ‘internationally excellent’  
  • 63% of Allied Health Professionals research environment is classed as ‘internationally excellent’  

The REF results 2021 have shown our strength and impact in innovation and research across the board and we are delighted to have achieved recognition for being ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ in so many areas.

Professor Warren Manning, Provost Innovation and Research
REF 2021 submission
Research in Aquatic Research Facility

Impact Case Studies

We have entered a new and exciting era for research at the University of Derby. Research is a fundamental part of our identity as an academic institution and the work we do has a real impact.

Read about our Impact Case StudiesRead about our Impact Case Studies

As part of the REF process, we are required to publish our REF2021 Equality Impact Assessment based on final submission data.