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REF recognises rise in world-leading research at Brunel

The volume of 'world-leading' and 'internationally excellent' research carried out at Brunel University London has increased by more than half in the past six years, according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

The REF, which assesses the quality of research at universities across the country, placed 61% of Brunel's submitted work in the top two categories, compared to just 43% in its precursor, 2008's Research Assessment Exercise.

Overall, the results lift Brunel to 33rd among the UK's Higher Education Institutes (HEI) for its research power – an overall ranking that combines the university's average research quality rating by number of submissions. The ranking placed Brunel 37th in 2008.

Five areas of study, including public health; sports science; art and design; politics; and environmental and earth sciences, had 100% of their submitted research impact recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent, placing them among the best in the country.

Significantly, the university made the 30th largest submission in the sector, and the 5th largest among London universities. In 2008 the submission was 8% smaller, indicating that the volume of quality research has increased.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Julia Buckingham said: "These results are just reward for the huge efforts academic staff have made in submitting their research for assessment and I thank everyone who has been involved in this long process.

"We were deliberate in choosing a very rigorous selection process, which makes the number of staff submitted and our successes across all three colleges even more impressive."

The university was particularly strong in demonstrating the real-world impact of research, brought into the assessment for the first time, with two-thirds of its 78 submissions classified as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Professor Geoff Rodgers, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), who led Brunel's submission, said: "It is particularly rewarding that the significant impact of Brunel's research has been recognised for the first time. This achievement demonstrates the importance of research that has a demonstrable public benefit – and we've shown we're extremely good at it."

Work from a total of 577 researchers was entered in 2014, compared to 534 in 2008. The increase highlights the strong research culture at Brunel, which ensure that students are taught by leading scholars at the forefront of their fields.

If you would like to find out more, please visit our dedicated REF page, which also lists a selection of the impact case studies we submitted.