English achieves outstanding results in Research Excellence Framework 2021

English has achieved outstanding results in the Research Excellence Framework 2021. An impressive 83% of the Division’s research was rated 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent', 62% of its environment rated 'world leading', and 52.4% of its outputs rated 'world leading'.

English has achieved outstanding results in the Research Excellence Framework 2021, with an impressive 83% of the Unit’s research rated world leading or internationally excellent.This positions English in the top half ofUK English departments for the quality of our research, up 13 places on the last REF assessment in 2014.Our submission consisted of research produced by academics in English, Drama, History, Communication and Media, and Creative Arts. 

The REF independently assesses the quality of research in UK Higher Education Institutions against three main criteria: the quality of our best research outputs, the societal ‘impactour research makes, and the overall research environment’ we provide.

Outputs –The assessment of outputs focuses on the quality of published research, with the expert panel rating 52.5%of English’s outputs world leading – more than double than in 2014 – and placing us in the top 20 of UK universities for proportion of world leading outputs. 85.4% of our outputs were rated as world leading and internationally excellent, a reflection of how our researchers are setting new intellectual agendas and leading the field in advancing literary, theoretical, and methodological debates. Our strong performance here confirmsworld leading and internationally excellent research strengths in key areas, including, textual editing and scholarship, literature from 1870-1930, health humanities, contemporary literature and culture, genders and identities, and applied storytelling.  

Research ImpactEnglish’s impact was showcasedthrough a case study on our excellent partnership with the National Civil War Centre and the ways in which we’ve helped change understandings of society and culture during the period of the Civil War through centring women’s histories. Two additional case studies highlighted the impact of our Drama and Creative Arts colleagues in the Storytelling Academyon marginalised international communities.  

Research EnvironmentThe REF panel assessed our facilities and infrastructure, research organisation and strategy, approach to staff development and EDI, and overall contribution to English research and impact, with 62.5% identified as world leading, and 100% identified as world leading or internationally excellent.This followed significant investment in staff fellowships, research events, partnership development, PhD studentships, and pilot research funding over the past 5 years, and confirms English as an inclusive and vibrant research environmentaplace where postgraduate, postdoctoral, and academic researchers achieve individual and collective success.  

Brian Jarvis, Head of English said:  

The results of REF 2021 represents a tremendous success story for English at Loughborough. In the judgement of an expert panel, over half of our submitted research was classified as ‘world-leading’. English, in fact, can boast the highest percentage of 4* research of any unit at Loughborough University. In addition, the panel recognised the stellar quality of our research environment which was also deemed to be both world-leading and internationally excellent. These hugely impressive results, coupled with recent successes attracting £2M in competitively awarded research funding are a glowing testament to the ability, dedication and endeavour of English colleagues. They also confirm that students at Loughborough are being taught by some of the world’s best researchers and educators, reflected in our position as number 1 in the UK for Graduate Prospects, 2nd in the UK for English and Creative Writing, and top 5 in the UK for overall student satisfaction.

We are very excited about the future for English. The results of REF2021 confirm English’s upward trajectory and important contribution to delivering the tangible impact Loughborough University's research is having on the world”.