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Research Excellence Framework

REF 2014

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a peer assessment of the quality of UK universities' research in all disciplines. It replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), last conducted in 2008.

The REF was undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies, who will use the REF results to distribute research funding to universities on the basis of quality, from 2015-16 onwards.

154 UK institutions made submissions in 36 subject-based units of assessment (UOAs). The submissions were assessed by panels of experts, who produced an overall quality profile for each submission. Each overall quality profile shows the proportion of research activity judged by the panels to have met each of the four starred quality levels defined below:

  • 4* - Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
  • 3* - Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence.
  • 2* - Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
  • 1* - Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
  • Unclassified - Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work. Or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of this assessment.

SRUC submitted a joint submission with the University of Edinburgh.

REF2014 Results

Agricultural and veterinary research at SRUC and the University of Edinburgh has been ranked as most powerful in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Three quarters of the research and related activity submitted by SRUC/UoE was judged to be “world leading” (receiving the top REF grading of four star) or “internationally excellent” (three star).

Research ‘power’ is an overarching measure of research quality and volume* which ultimately influences the allocation of funding to HEIs by the UK’s Higher Education Funding Councils. The collective strength and depth of agricultural and veterinary research at SRUC and the University is reflected in its top research power ranking.

The impact of SRUC/UoE’s research scored particularly highly. This is an important area because it demonstrates how the research undertaken leads to practical benefits for society – for example in animal health and welfare, agricultural productivity and environmental protection. Over 76% of the impacts described in SRUC/UoE submission were judged to be “outstanding” and over 83% either “outstanding” or “very considerable”.

View the SRUC/UofE results on the REF2014 website.

REF Submitted Studies

More detail on our research activity and its impact can be found as case studies in our Research Impact section.

Dr Darren Watt

Assistant Research Manager

Address: Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.

Telephone: 0131 535 4366

Fax: 0131 535 4183


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