USW celebrates world leading research and impact with excellence

Atrium Cardiff Campus

The University of South Wales is celebrating its world class research with the announcement of the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) results.


USW has doubled its amount of research rated as world leading.


Half of USW research is of world leading or internationally excellent standard providing practical solutions for culture, society and the economy, defined in REF terms as its impact.


USW has also increased the quality of its research across three quarters of its submissions.


Success stories among the REF 2014 Units of Assessment include:

  • The University of South Wales’s world-leading and internationally excellent research across the range of the creative industries is ranked top in the UK for its impact.
  • In terms of impact, USW’s world-leading research in social policy and criminology is ranked 8th in the UK and top in Wales.
  • USW is 15th overall in the UK for world leading research in sports and exercise science.


“This is an excellent result for the University of South Wales, and a credit to our talented and dedicated researchers,” said Professor Helen Langton, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Development.


“It demonstrates that, in terms of the volume and the quality of our research, USW is more than holding its own, and has maintained its position as one of Wales’s five major research active universities.


“Our applied research and engagement is reflected in our strong performance in the impact of our work by solving practical problems affecting society, culture and the economy.


“At the University we are particularly proud of the recognition we have achieved in relation to our work in social policy and criminology, sports and exercise science, and the creative industries.”


Where the University of South Wales is world leading:

Professor Fiona Brookman’s research has produced new insights into the nature and circumstances of homicide and homicide investigation.


Her research is featured in the renowned Murder Investigation Manual, which is widely regarded as the definitive guide on homicide investigation in Britain.

Fiona brookman

As well as this, the detectives of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, based in the United States (US), devote one of their top ten directives to Prof Brookman’s proposals on broadening outcome assessments.

Thanks to the impact of her research, the Prince George’s County Police Department in the US is also considering implementing Prof Brookman’s proposals to include Family Liaison Officers as part of their process of homicide investigation.

Prof Brookman is one of only a few academics in the UK studying both the nature of homicide and police homicide investigation. She is the only criminologist in the UK to use this knowledge to directly inform methods of homicide investigation in both the UK and the US.

More about Prof Brookman’s work here.
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Findings from the Neurovascular Research Laboratory, led by Professor Damian Bailey at the University of South Wales, have transformed our understanding of free radicals and how they can influence the way the human brain ages.


Novel “Brain-Train” studies have raised public awareness to the cerebrovascular benefits of physical activity, which helps improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain thereby reducing the risk of stroke and dementia.

news-Damian Bailey
Health and welfare impacts are already being felt with exercise and improved vascular screening reducing the complications and untimely deaths in patients with atherosclerosis. Alternative models of “accelerated” brain ageing have provided unique insight into the mechanisms linking free radicals, oxygen, stroke and dementia.


More about Prof Bailey’s research here.
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A documentary film on the lives of an all-female Muslim football team in Zanzibar has helped to improve respect and understanding, encouraged more women to get involved in sport and has been used to tackle racism in football and raise awareness of HIV and AIDS.

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The research by Prof Florence Ayisi used ‘first person’ documentary film practices and focused on members of the ‘Women Fighters’ football team, raising important questions about the role and status of Muslim women in Africa.


The resulting impact film, Zanzibar Soccer Queens by Prof Ayisi and Catalin Brylla, shows societal acceptance of women’s football and the team has gone from being marginalised as ‘soccer hooligans’ to becoming valued ambassadors for Zanzibar.


More about Zanzibar Soccer Queens here

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