February 09, 2015

University of Wolverhampton - United Kingdom

Outcomes of the research Excellence Framework (REF) 

For almost the last 30 years, an exercise has been undertaken approximately every 5 years on behalf of the UK higher education funding councils to evaluate the quality of research undertaken by UK higher education institutions.    

The University made its first submission in 1992 and again in 1996, when most research activity was assessed to be sub-national in quality.  By the time of the RAE in 2001, there was evidence that the University was starting to develop a research capability with most research activity being assessed to be of national standard with some evidence of international quality.   

By 2008, the majority of the University’s research activity was assessed to be internationally significant.  11 Units of Assessment had been submitted with 8 of 11 demonstrating evidence of research of world leading quality.  A total of 151.37 research active staff had been included in the submission representing 20% of eligible academic staff.  As a result of the 2008 RAE, the University was allocated some £2M of QR funding annually.    

After 2008 the University developed further, for the first time, a threshold level of quality was set by the University and extensive use of external peer review prior to submission was made.  In addition the University benefitted from the early outputs generated by new Professors who were recruited in 2012/3 as a result of the investment made by the University in new posts. 

The University’s submission for the 2014 REF comprised of 13 Units of Assessment including Area Studies and English Language and Literature for the first time.  A total of 190 research active staff were submitted representing 25% of eligible academic staff.  The submission included 35 impact case studies, which demonstrated the value of the University’s research on the world.   Following from this latest REF it was determined that the University’s 13 Units of Assessment were all classified either 2*, 3* or 4* and the University has further increased its world leading internationally recognised research.   

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

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