For the current REF see the REF 2021 website REF 2021 logo
You are in : Home » Results » Introduction


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, in steps of 1%:


Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.


Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence.


Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.


Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.


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.

The overall quality profile awarded to each submission is derived from a sub-profile for each of three elements of the assessment, which are weighted as follows:

1. The quality of research outputs. This counts for 65 per cent of the assessment.

2. The impact of research beyond academia. This counts for 20 per cent of the assessment. Impact is a new feature in the REF 2014.

3. The research environment. This counts for 15 per cent of the overall results.

Full details of the assessment process and criteria are available.

A brief outline of the REF process and key findings are available in the Key facts leaflet.


The results were published in December 2014.

Results for each submission can be viewed on this website either by UOA or by institution, or a spreadsheet containing all the results can be downloaded. For each submission, the results pages show the overall quality profile, the three sub-profiles (for outputs, impact and environment) and the number of FTE Category A staff included in the submission.

Where the quality profile awarded is to a joint submission made by two or more institutions, this is indicated. Where an institution made multiple submissions in a particular UOA, the quality profiles are provided separately for each submission.

The publication 'Research Excellence Framework 2014: The results' (REF 01.2014) provides the overall quality profiles awarded to each submission, listed by UOA. 

In addition to the results for each submission, general analysis and summary data are available.

Published submissions

Submissions made by institutions to the 2014 REF can be viewed on this website either by UOA or by institution, or can be downloaded here.

All submitted information is included, except for personal and contractual data relating to individuals, and information identified by the institutions as confidential (for commercial or other reasons). The content of the published submissions remains unchanged from the submission deadline (29 November 2013), except where the REF team made data adjustments following audit and data verification procedures carried out during the assessment process. For each submission, the lists of staff and outputs are published separately, hence outputs are not linked to individual staff members.

The submissions do not provide a complete record of all research conducted in UK higher education institutions. Only publicly funded institutions were eligible to make submissions. They had the discretion to decide in which UOAs to submit, and which of their eligible staff and research outputs to include in each submission. Institutions made their selection of staff for the REF submissions in accordance with their codes of practice.