UWE's world-leading research increases by 170%

Issue date: 18 December 2014


The volume of world-leading research at UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England, Bristol) has gone up by 170%, according to the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 out today.

The REF 2014 results reveal that 57 % of the research submitted by UWE was judged to be either world leading or internationally excellent. In addition, 75% of the research submitted was highly rated for impact.

For the first time, the impact quality accounted for 20% of the overall profile which is the main outcome of the REF. Impact is defined as an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia.

Vice-Chancellor Steve West said, “UWE Bristol did particularly well on the new quality of impact measure. This recognises that our research has resulted in real benefits to the economy and society as well as increasing academic knowledge.

“UWE's outstanding REF results reflect our mission of undertaking excellent research applicable to real world problems.”

The results highlight UWE's particular strengths in the areas of allied health and nursing, and communications, cultural and media studies.

Results were also outstanding in areas such as architecture, built environment and planning; history; engineering; art and design; computer science; agriculture, food and veterinary, and business and management.

The REF assessed the quality and impact of research in Higher Education in the UK. The results are used by funding bodies such as HEFCE to inform funding to HEIs from 2015-16, which will be announced in March 2015. The previous exercise, the Research Assessment Exercise, was carried out in 2008.

In order to assess the new measure of research impact, Universities submitted nearly 7000 case studies to HEFCE.

One of UWE's case studies - improving mobility and reducing pain in people with osteoarthritis - outlines a method developed at UWE that enables people with osteoarthritis to regain their ability to move and reduce their pain. This has been adopted and implemented across the UK.

Another case study, tackling negative body image, describes the initiatives to tackle this global health issue that have been directly influenced by research at UWE.

UWE's research on pervasive media: building a new digital world has enabled developers of new media and games to create innovative products.

Research at UWE has led to major initiatives to tackle overfishing, including the establishment of the world's largest marine reserve.

Professor West continued, “We are proud of the way in which our excellent research feeds into teaching our students. It means our students benefit from the latest thinking and how that is shaping the world now and in the future.

“These results are a great achievement for the University and I congratulate all those involved.”

UWE submitted to 17 Units of Assessment as part of the Research Excellence Framework.

The results for these 17 Units of Assessment are in this table.

For more information see the REF website.

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