The Research Excellence Framework and why it is important for International Students


The Research Excellence Framework assesses the quality of academic research produced by universities, with the results determining how much research funding they are granted. £2bn is up for grabs and the difference between a successful and poor rating can be crucial to the future of key departments.

154 UK universities took part in the latest REF, with 190,000 pieces of research submitted by over 50,000 academics in up to 36 different subject areas. Taking place every six years, universities are asked to submit their best research to be judged by experts in the field alongside key academics.

For the 2014 exercise, things have changed though. 20% of the overall score given to a piece of research is judged on its impact outside of academia, with the government looking to reward universities who engage with business and civil society. The remainder of the research submitted is judged on the overall quality of research output, and the popularity of the research environment, such as how many students may study within a particular department.

Successful Research Excellence Framework results are crucial for the future plans of UK universities. The top ten in 2014 can be found below.

  1. Institute of Cancer Research
  2. Imperial College London
  3. London School of Economics
  4. University of Oxford
  5. University of Cambridge
  6. Cardiff University
  7. King’s College London
  8. University College London
  9. University of Warwick
  10. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

You can learn more about all of the above universities by visiting the SI-UK website. If you would like to apply, arrange a free consultation today!

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