Research Excellence Framework

REF 2021 logo

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions and the impact of research on the wider world outside of academia, including benefits to the economy, the environment, society, and public policy or services. 

Units of Assessment

The University aims to continue its success with a REF 2021 return that demonstrates the excellent research produced by our staff and the impact that our research has made on society and the economy. 

We will showcase the depth of our research by entering units of assessment across all main panels, with our submissions prepared in accordance with our REF 2021 Code of Practice.

Our latest REF rankings

The results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF) showed that USW has doubled the amount of its 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’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


Professor Martin Steggall
Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research
[email protected]

Dr Sarah Theobald

Research Excellence Manager
[email protected]

Michelle Evans
Strategic Research Project Officer
[email protected]