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Durham University

Department of Physics

Durham Physics REF Results 2014

Durham University REF 2014

Durham University REF 2014

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Durham's Acting Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) discuss the University's performance in REF 2014. Find out more at

Durham Physics research rated "internationally excellent" or "world leading" in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework results.

Overall 96% of Durham Physics research was considered either to be of "internationally excellent quality" or "world leading" in the REF (Research Excellence Framework) results released in December, with the remaining 4% considered to be "internationally recognised" by the official body for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

*This places Durham in the top 10 of UK institutions for the subject, with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.27.

The 2014 REF was conducted jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL) and replaces the RAE scheme, last conducted in 2008.

Full 2014 results for the department and the University as a whole can be found at

*League table results may vary depending on the data/calculations used by the compiler.

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.

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Glossary of Terms


For the purposes 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.


Research Assessment Exercise, the previous system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The last one was in 2008.


Research Excellence Framework


A submission is all of the data and information submitted by one HEI under one UOA. There were 1,911 submissions.


A Higher Education Institution such as a university, higher education college or other higher education institution


The Grade Point Average (GPA) is an internationally recognised calculation used to find the average result of all grades achieved. 


There are 36 subject-based units of assessment (UOAs) under which universities submit research to the REF. They are listed in Annex B of Units of assessment and recruitment of expert panels; (REF 01.2010) at