91% of Liverpool’s research rated as world leading or internationally excellent

The University of Liverpool has reinforced its place as a world leading research institution in the results of the independent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

91% of the University’s research is classed as world leading or internationally excellent as part of the national exercise to assess the quality and impact of research at every UK university.

The University’s sector position for research quality and intensity has improved across the board since the last assessment in 2014, with particular progress in research impact. Nine Liverpool research units achieved a top ten ranking for their outstanding impact and 94% of the University’s research impact is now considered ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’, recognising the wide-reaching benefits of Liverpool experts’ work in areas of health, culture, policy, business, sustainability and more.

The University’s research power is ranked 19th in the UK, representing the improvement in both overall quality and size of the University’s submission*.

Professor Anthony Hollander, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact, said: “We have made important improvements in our sector and Russell Group position for every key university-level metric. This is a phenomenal achievement and indeed all the more impressive given the incredibly competitive nature of research in the UK higher education landscape. Our institutional results are a great cause for celebration and represent an immense collective effort. They are also a reflection of the importance of our work in addressing key global challenges and delivering sustained, real-world impact.”

Top 10 success

Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Sciences (3rd), Chemistry (7th) and Modern Languages and Linguistics (10th) are all ranked in the top 10 in the UK for research excellence rated as world leading (4*).

Liverpool has the top Veterinary School return for 4* overall research in the Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Sciences unit of assessment. The unit performed well in all areas, coming joint top in the UK for 4* research environment and fourth for research power and 4* research outputs. Research in this area is helping to tackle infectious diseases in animals, improve the health and welfare of livestock, companion and laboratory animals and address global food challenges.

The University’s Chemistry research also cemented its world-leading status with a 3rd place for 4* research impact and top 10 places for its research power and 4* research environment and outputs. The past six years has seen Chemistry research income double to £73 million and the opening of the flagship £81 million Materials Innovation Factory (MIF) on campus.

Meanwhile, Modern Languages and Linguistics placed an impressive 4th in the UK for 4* research impact. Research in this area is influencing society in many ways, from highlighting political issues to helping disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.

There was also significant improvement for Business and Management Studies, which is ranked 9th in the UK for research power. This is one of University’s largest research units and an area that receives a substantial number of submissions across the UK.

The REF results will be used by the four UK higher education funding bodies to allocate research funding to universities – around £2 billion per year from 2022-23.

The University was also recently ranked among the world’s top 100 in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings League – and number one for its partnership work in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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