Our research and impact

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Every few years, the quality of universities’ research in all subject areas is independently assessed.

The outcomes of this assessment

  • inform the selective allocation of funds for research distributed by the Funding Councils
  • provide accountability for public investment in research and produce evidence of the benefits of this investment, and
  • provide benchmarking information for universities.

The latest assessment, known as the Research Excellence Framework (REF), was undertaken in 2014.

In the REF, Loughborough consolidated its position in the premier league of research universities. It was ranked 14th in the UK and 9th among universities in England for research intensity.

The ranking, published by the Times Higher Education magazine, ranks the UK’s 128 institutions on the Grade Point Average of their overall quality profiles, weighted according to the proportion of eligible staff they submitted to the REF.

Almost 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

Overall the proportion of Loughborough’s research judged to be ‘world leading’ (4*-rated) increased by 37% on the previous Research Assessment Exercise in 2008. Research considered to be ‘internationally excellent’ (3*-rated) increased by 23%.

At subject level, the results confirmed Loughborough’s pre-eminence in sport; the University has the largest concentration of world-leading research in sport and exercise sciences.

In total seven subject areas feature in their national subject top ten on this measure:

  • Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering,
  • Civil and Construction Engineering
  • Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
  • Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism
  • Area Studies
  • Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory
  • Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management

As part of the REF, universities are required to demonstrate how their research has had an impact on the world. You can find out more about how we’re doing this through our case studies.