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Research Excellence Framework 2014

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.

Durham University REF results

Durham University REF 2014 Result


83% of research “internationally excellent” or “world leading” (3* or 4*)

98% of our research environment “internationally excellent” or “world-leading” (3* or 4*)

91% of impact case studies graded as 3* or 4*

Almost 80% of outputs “ internationally excellent” or “world-leading” (3* or 4*)

All 22 Units of Assessment contained world-leading (4*) research

View detailed results...

The Societal Benefit of Durham University’s Research – Case Studies

Bridging the Education Gap

Professor Steve Higgins

The Pupil Premium Toolkit developed by Durham University is helping schools invest wisely in the education of disadvantaged children... Read more

Waterproofing At Your Fingertips

Professor Jas Pal Badyal

Millions of mobile phones are protected from water damage by super-repellent nanocoatings invented in Durham University’s chemistry laboratories... Read more

Influencing the Law on Pornography

Professors Clare McGlynn and Erika Rackley

A campaign to outlaw possession of pornographic images of rape has been strengthened by Durham University research... Read more

Reviving Classical Music

Professor Jeremy Dibble

The neglected work of three talented British composers has been revived as a result of research at Durham University... Read more

Global Access to Ancient Literature

Dr Peter Heslin

Access to Latin and Greek texts is available to people all over the world via free software developed at Durham University... Read more

Find out what's going on around the University in your research area

Durham University: A world of opportunity

Durham University: A world of opportunity

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Research is at the heart of Durham University. Here, some of our leading early career researchers talk about the world of opportunity on offer to students and academics at Durham.

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