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Research Excellence Framework 2014

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Research Excellence Framework 2014


The results of the highly anticipated 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) were announced on Thursday 18 December. The Department of Economics at The University of Warwick is ranked 4th affirming the high calibre of research in the Department:

GPA x Research Intensity

Rank Institution GPA x intensity GPA Intensity FTE submitted
1 London School of Economics and Political Science 3.26 3.55 91.79% 51.4
2 University College London 3.1 3.78 82.00% 36.9
3 The University of Oxford 2.98 3.44 86.49% 83.9
4 The University of Warwick 2.73 3.41 80.00% 41.6
5 The University of Essex 2.71 3.25 83.32% 33.3

By GPA alone, the top 5 are slightly different:

  1. UCL (GPA: 3.78)
  2. LSE (GPA: 3.55)
  3. Oxford (GPA: 3.44)
  4. Cambridge (GPA: 3.42)
  5. Warwick (GPA: 3.41)

(Note: The LSE, UCL, Oxford and Warwick remain in the Top 5 in both of the above rankings).

Submissions for the REF are made by institutions and assessed by an expert panel for each unit of assessment in three key areas:

  • outputs (65%) looking at originality, significance and rigour

  • impact (20%) looking at reach and significance

  • research environment (15%) looking at vitality and sustainability.

The weighting of these elements forms the overall quality profile. Each area is classified as four star, three star, two star, one star or unclassified.

A key highlight for the Department of Economics is the percentage of 4* and 3* ratings which places us joint 2nd with The University of Cambridge ahead of LSE and The University of Oxford:

4* and 3* ratings (percentages)

Rank Institution 4*+3* 4* 3* 2* 1* unclassified
1 University College London 99 79 20 1 0 0
2 The University of Cambridge 96 47 49 3 1 0
2 The University of Warwick 96 45 51 4 0 0
3 The University of Essex 93 32 61 7 0 0
3 London School of Economics and Political Science 93 69 24 3 1 3

In the area of outputs which account for 65% of the overall scores, Economics at Warwick is ranked joint 3rd with LSE just behind University College London and The University of Cambridge. We are also ranked 3rd for research 'power'. Impact is a new area to be assessed for the REF and we are ranked 4th in this category ahead of both Oxford and Cambridge.

The rankings underscore the rapid ascent of the Department of Economics into the top tier of the discipline’s research engines in the nation. In our scant 49-year history, the Department has built an outstanding research performance on the sheer quality of its faculty members and their scholarship which is clearly evidenced by our exceptional achievement. The REF results swiftly follow our number one ranking in The Times and Sunday Times’ league tables for 2015 confirming our position as the top Economics Department in the UK.

Professor Abhinay Muthoo says:

We are really pleased with the results of the REF which cement our position as one of the leading departments in the UK for research excellence. High-calibre research is central to all we do at Warwick and I congratulate every member of staff in the department who has directly or indirectly contributed to this success. Economics at Warwick is always forward-facing and we will continue to build on this achievement in the years ahead.

REF 2014 at a Glance

About the REF

The REF is the prestigious government exercise undertaken by the four higher education funding bodies and designed to assess the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). The REF was completed in December 2014 and it replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) which was last completed in 2008.

The REF is extremely important to HEIs as it is used to allocate funding and is used in university league tables and benchmarking. The assessment also provides accountability for public investment in research and produces evidence of the benefits of this investment.

GPA - Grade point average.
FTE - Full-time equivalent.
Intensity - Staff submitted/eligible staff.