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News article

World-leading research by every academic School at York St John University

Published: 12 May 2022

REF 2021 logo in yellow and blue letters on a white background

The latest UK-wide assessment of university research has been published through the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). 

York St John University has achieved a bigger and better result in comparison to its last REF results in 2014, with growth in both the volume and quality of research submitted. 

58% of research submitted for the REF 2021 was judged as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*), demonstrating a significant increase from 35% in 2014. The number of academic staff with significant responsibility for research submitted has more than doubled. 

All academic Schools at the University submitted research that was assessed as world-leading, with notable achievement in Sport, Education, Psychology and Music and Performance. 

Professor Karen Bryan, Vice Chancellor of York St John University says: 

“These results represent an improved position for York St John University and provide us with a good basis to continue strengthening our research output. We will continue to analyse the data from the assessment and already have plans in place to build on these results in preparation for the next REF. My considerable thanks go to everyone who submitted research and supported the application.” 

The national picture for REF 2021 

The Research Excellence Framework 2021 provides a robust and thorough assessment of the quality of universities’ research in all disciplines, providing accountability for public investment in research and demonstrating the benefits of that investment.  

In total, 157 UK universities participated, submitting over 76,000 academic staff. Submissions included research outputs, examples of the wider benefits of research and evidence about the research environment. This material was assessed by a series of expert panels comprising UK and international researchers, external users of research and experts in interdisciplinary research.  

Speaking on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies, Steven Hill, Chair of the REF Steering Group and Director of Research at Research England, said: 

‘These results today reinforce the UK’s position as a world leader in research, corroborating the views of international commentators and highlighting our trajectory towards global research leadership across a broad set of disciplines. They represent an exceptional achievement for UK university research and demonstrate the huge return on public investment in research. 

REF is at the forefront of approaches to capturing the impact from research, and demonstrates a substantial range of benefits. The real differences made to people’s lives, both across the UK and around the world, that are narrated through the impact case studies are in many cases humbling and, in our current times, a significant example of this is provided in our universities’ outstanding contribution to the Covid pandemic. 

Universities and their staff have had to respond to the pandemic in multiple ways. Their commitment to working with the funding bodies to deliver REF 2021 has been considerable. The incredible contribution both of those making the submissions and of our expert panels, through these unprecedented times, has allowed us to deliver a rigorous and timely set of results.’ 

Find out more on the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) website 

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