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REF 2021 results

The University of Warwick is one of the UK’s academic powerhouses - 92% of our research is ‘world leading or internationally excellent’, according to a panel of global experts.

The REF (Research Excellence Framework) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in the country’s higher education institutions. Expert panels made up of senior academics, international members, and research users review submissions from universities every seven years.

In the most recent REF results – announced in May 2022 - a remarkable 50% of our submitted research was awarded the highest possible rating of ‘world leading’ (4 stars). A further 42% is ‘internationally excellent’ (3 stars).

Other highlights from our REF 2021 assessment include:

  • Four academic disciplines, Economics (2nd), Classics (3rd), Computer Science (4th), and Business & Management (5th) featured in the UK’s Top 5 institutions, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) Link opens in a new window analysis of the REF assessment.
  • A further five disciplines, Mathematical Sciences (6th), Law (8th), Philosophy (8th), Politics and International Studies (9th) and Sociology (10th) featured within Top 10.
  • Warwick was rated as 7th overall for ‘outputs’ which reflects the consistently high quality of its published academic work.
  • The results also recognised an increase in the economic and societal impact of the University’s research, which highlights the real-world benefit of the University’s work.

Submissions are assessed on the quality of outputs, such as publications, performances, and exhibitions, their impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research. Each of these receives a star rating, with four star ‘world-leading’ being the highest.

Our reputation as a global research centre of excellence is matched by our outstanding teaching credentials – we were also named as University of the Year for Teaching Quality by the Sunday Times’ Good University Guide 2022.

An image of the official REF 2021 logo

The thinking behind the research

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