Research Excellence Framework (REF) resources

In REF2014, Loughborough was ranked a top ten research University in the Times Higher Education (THE) intensity rankings. We have now made our REF2021 submission.

REF 2021 return

Loughborough University submitted its REF return in March 2021, after a period of nearly three years.

The return included

  • over 900 staff across 16 Units of Assessment (UoA)
  • more than 2,000 outputs - 69 impact case studies
  • almost 2,000 PhDs awarded
  • £282 million of research income

Three main areas will be independently assessed by UoA Panels

  • analysis of outputs (60%)
  • impact (25%)
  • research environment (15%)

What is the REF?

The REF provides an opportunity for universities to showcase their research and the outputs that arise from it, the impact arising from research – particularly on non-academic communities and organisations – and the environment that is in place to nurture and stimulate research and impact.

Not only does it dictate how much quality-related funding the University receives annually between REF exercises, it also has implications for our reputation, profile and place within the UK higher education system.

Post-REF review

The Post-REF Review Working Group was established in Spring 2021 to undertake a comprehensive review of the University’s REF 2021 submission and its underpinning processes, systems and structures.

The Review is intended to collate information from a wide variety of stakeholders to enable lessons to be learned for future assessment exercises. The aim is to present a completed report with findings and recommendations by December 2021.

The Working Group has developed a survey which will be run prior to a series of focus groups with staff involved in REF 2021 - these will take place during September and early October.

The focus groups will be role-centred and so you may have an opportunity to attend one as well as participate in the survey, should you so wish.

REF 2021 survey

All staff involved in the REF 2021 submission were invited to share their experiences and help inform the way we conduct research assessment and make progress towards future REF submissions.

The survey closed on 30 September 2021.

Sharing the learned experiences of creating and evidencing impact

We have begun a programme of events to explore and describe the experience of developing Impact Case Studies and to share the learned experiences associated with creating and evidencing impact.

Resources - including presentations from Impact Case Study authors’ experiences of developing pathways to achieving impact - are available on Learn.

You may need a one-time enrolment key to access the resources. In which case, please email