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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

Research Excellence Framework 2014

What is the REF?

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a method of assessing the quality of research at British higher education institutions. It assesses the research that has taken place during the period 2008–2013. The criteria and the definitions of the starred levels used in the assessment can be seen on the REF website

Why is the REF Significant?

The four UK higher education funding bodies allocate about £2 billion per year of research funding to UK universities, based on the quality and volume of each university’s research. They aim to support a dynamic and internationally competitive UK research sector that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.

As well as informing funding allocations, the REF provides accountability for public investment in research, demonstrates its benefits, and provides important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of UK universities.

Anthropology REF Results 

The REF 2014 results are published and 74 per cent of our Unit of Assessment’s research overall was considered to be of internationally excellent quality or world leading, that is, both 3* and 4*. This consists of the overall assessment of outputs, environment and impact. 

44 per cent was assessed as 3* or "internationally excellent” and 30 per cent as 4* or "world leading". A further 20 per cent was classed as 2* or “recognised internationally”. 

This gives our Unit of Assessment a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.96 which means that we are in the top 10 per cent of our discipline nationally*.

Durham’s results are published on the University website and there are links to the national results from the same page.