The results of REF 2014 lift Brunel to 33rd among the UK’s universities for research power – a ranking that combines the university’s average research quality rating by number of submissions – up from 37th in 2008.
Brunel's submission involved 18 months of intensive work involving a dedicated team of six people and the work of over 600 researchers across the University. Our REF scores confirm Brunel University London is firmly within the top quarter of research universities in the UK.
“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.
— Vice-Chancellor Julia Buckingham
“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.”
— Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Geoff Rodgers
Results: Key Information
- Our world leading research has increased by 54%
- Percentage of 3* and 4* research is 61%
- Work from a total of 577 researchers was entered in 2014, compared to 534 in 2008
- 100% of the impact of 5 units of assessment is world leading and internationally excellent
- Engineering and Design ranked amongst London's biggest and best
- Sports Sciences takes top five finish in the UK
Our overall results profile
This table shows the ‘Overall quality’ of the submission and is composed from 3 differently weighted assessment criteria Outputs (65%), Impact (20%), Environment (15%). Each profile shows the percentage of research activity at each quality level (4*,3*,2*,1* and unclassified) as evaluated by the panel for each UoA entered by Brunel.
REF results table
|UoA Name||College||Institute||FTE equivalent||4*||3*||2*||1*||U/C||Additional info|
|Anthropology and Development Studies||College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences||9||18%||34%||40%||8%||0%||
Anthropology and Development Studies has observed a rise in the amount of research that is qualified as internationally recognised.
40% of our research is rated world leading for impact.
One size won't fit all in tackling tropical disease
Globally at least 1 billion people suffer from or are at risk from neglected tropical diseases but 'one-size-fits-all' mass medication programmes don't work, warns research from Brunel. Brunel medical anthropologist Dr Melissa Parker’s ground-breaking 16-month fieldwork in Tanzania and Uganda revealed that while 10 years of mass drug administration (MDA) schemes have produced some worthwhile outcomes, a tendency to make assumptions when unaware about local realities reveals some serious flaws.... read more
|Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering||College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences||Institute of Energy Futures; Institute of Environment, Health and Societies; Institute of Materials and Manufacturing||63.27||6%||63%||28%||3%||0%||
Mechanical engineering at Brunel continues to go from strength to strength, with around 70% of work judged to be of world leading or internationally excellent standard. This is combined with a large increase in the number of staff submitted, making engineering one of the largest research areas at Brunel. Impact was particularly strong in this area, with over 70% of cases studies judged as internationally excellent. This leaves us 6th in terms of research power.
Improving energy efficiency is revolutionising retail
Improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s food retail chain has been the focus of a team at Brunel led by Professor Savvas Tassou for more than a decade. Since 2001, they have been working to refine three core processes that between them have the capacity to revolutionise heating, refrigeration and food handling in retail stores. The three processes are: Combined Heat and Power (CHP), which is the simultaneous generation... read more
|Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy||College of Health and Life Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies||50.6||13%||42%||40%||5%||0%||
The number of our researchers producing world leading and internationally excellent research has doubled in volume since RAE 2008. With over 50% of our research being rated within the top 2 categories, this is a significant improvement for this area from RAE2008.
Online tool helps therapists find right treatment
A team led by Dr Priscilla Harries and Dr Kenneth Gilhooly from Brunel's School of Health Sciences and Social Care has developed a ground-breaking online tool to help novice occupational therapists decide on the best treatments for their patients. The team researched among 40 experienced therapists to discover how they prioritised their patient referrals. Their decisions were used to develop a statistical model, showing how they used the information they... read more
|Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory||College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences||Institute of Materials and Manufacturing||13||27%||40%||29%||4%||0%||
Art and design, history, practice and theory saw over 67% of research classed as internationally excellent or world leading, with 100% of our impact and environment falling into the 3* and 4* categories
For future fuels it's no idle matter
With diesel engines powering more and more cars, the search to reduce one of the diesel’s least desirable characteristics – noise and vibration when idling – has come under sharp focus. Engineers have reduced the engine idle speed to cut fuel consumption (30% of a diesel’s fuel consumption in city traffic happens when the car is stationary) with a consequent increase in idling vibration, and now fuel manufacturers are involved... read more
|Business and Management Studies||College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies||61||12%||41%||36%||10%||1%||
One of Brunel’s largest submission areas, Business and Management saw a 19% increase in staff submitted research compared to the 2008 RAE. More than half of our research is world leading or internationally excellent, supported by a strong performance in impact. This leaves us in the top 20% for research power.
Products prepare elderly for independent living
Brunel has helped tackle the unprecedented challenges of an ageing population by developing products and services to help older people live independently. The lead academic on the research team, Dr Gabriella Spinelli, has worked with Age UK since 2007, applying her research to issues of ageing and social inclusion. She was awarded a £520,000 grant from the Technology Strategy Board and the Economic and Social Research Council in 2010 to... read more
|Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management||College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences||19||12%||33%||34%||20%||1%||
45% of our research in Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management was assessed as internationally excellent or world leading. This area also saw an increase in staff entered compared to RAE 2008.
|Computer Science and Informatics||College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies; Institute of Materials and Manufacturing||30.5||17%||48%||27%||8%||0%||
Our Computer Science and Informatics research was assessed as 65% world leading or internationally excellent. In addition 90% of the area’s environmental score was judged to be internationally excellent. We were ranked in the top 30% for research power.
High performance computer simulations slash costs
Computer simulations are increasingly used to model systems and processes throughout industry to improve productivity and reduce costs. But until a team led by Brunel academic Dr Simon Taylor got to work, two issues were limiting their use on large-scale systems. The first was actually building the simulations themselves. Models are costly to develop so being able to re-use elements of one model as the building blocks towards creating larger... read more
|Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences||College of Health and Life Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies||16.2||19%||54%||23%||4%||0%||
Over 70% of our research in this area was rated as internationally excellent or world leading, with strong results for impact and our research environment. This has been a growth area for Brunel University London, with twice as many staff submitted than in RAE2008.
Risk of drug discharge recognised on continent
Leading research into regulation of drug discharge into Europe's rivers has led to improved sewage treatment and policy change across the continent. A study by Dr Edwin Routledge showing that steroid oestrogens excreted by women were responsible for the oestrogenic activity of the effluent, and by Prof Susan Jobling, who demonstrated that there was widespread feminisation of wild male fish occurring in UK rivers that received this effluent. It followed... read more
|Economics and Econometrics||College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences||26.2||1%||30%||57%||12%||0%||
Our economics department was submitted in one of the most challenging areas of assessment and has seen 31% of our research rated as internationally excellent or higher.
Pensions crisis paves way for research into working longer
The growing problem of people’s savings being inadequate for their retirement led a team of Brunel researchers to investigate the economic impact of extending working lives. As part of a European Commission-funded project, professors Ray Barrell and E Philip Davis from Brunel University London’s economics and econometrics team looked at the determinants of consumption, showing that the level of changes in housing and financial wealth were significant determinants of a... read more
|Education||College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences||14.2||13%||47%||33%||7%||0%||
60% of our research in education was rated as world leading or internationally excellent, an impressive improvement from 15% in RAE 2008. The impact of our research was also strong, with 90% rated as internationally excellent.
Beating the bullies in schools around the world
Bullying is an international problem and work by Brunel’s Professor Ian Rivers is influencing government policy across the globe as well as informing best practice at school level. His rigorous work over 20 years has led the field in understanding the effects of bullying on aggressor, victim and on bystanders. Challenging the previous orthodoxy, Professor Rivers has shown that two thirds of secondary school level pupils regularly witness bullying and... read more
|English Language and Literature||College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies||23.15||16%||48%||17%||13%||6%||
Our entry into English Language and Literature had almost twice the number of staff than 2008, and 64% of our research was rated as world leading or internationally excellent.
Giving moderate Muslims a voice
In the fight against Islamist radicalisation, research into what young British Muslims think and feel has provided valuable insight to the UK Government. Based on in-depth interviews with more than 30 self-identified and practising young Muslims from across the country, Dr Anshuman Mondal's work was a qualitative investigation of attitudes to politics, belief, cultural integration and relationships with peers and parents. His results challenged the idea that there is a... read more
|General Engineering||College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences||Institute of Energy Futures; Institute of Environment, Health and Societies; Institute of Materials and Manufacturing||63.45||11%||58%||24%||4%||3%||
Brunel’s engineering submission was one of the largest in the UK, with a similar number of staff submitted as in 2008. Our percentage of world leading research has doubled, with a significant increase in our research judged as internationally excellent as well. The impact of over 75% of our research was judged to be world leading or internationally excellent. This leaves us in the top 20% for research power.
Invention puts bite into Apple iPhone
Engineers at Brunel have created the UltraMill machine, a cutting-edge manufacturing tool which is helping UK and European manufacturers compete in high value manufacturing, particularly ultra-precision and micro manufacturing. Used to produce medical devices, watch and electronic components, UltraMill has inspired a pioneering diamond cutting tool and has been used by Apple to make the bevels around the edge of the iPhone 5S. UltraMill was developed by Professor Kai Cheng... read more
|Law||College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences||30.95||6%||45%||45%||4%||0%||
With 51% of our research rated as internationally excellent or above, Law has seen an increase in world-leading and internationally recognised research since RAE 2008. The size of our submission has also increased slightly.
Speed camera success based upon rigorous research
Positive research into the introduction of speed cameras has contributed to saving an estimated 6,000 people from death or injury on the UK’s roads since 2008. A 1993/7 study, commissioned by the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and conducted by Brunel’s Department of Law, surveyed 7,000 drivers on camera interventions and their impact. It showed positive support for cameras and a general reduction in speed due to... read more
|Mathematical Sciences||College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies; Institute of Materials and Manufacturing||24.05||11%||54%||30%||5%||0%||
65% of our research in this area was rated as internationally excellent or world leading. This area has shown good impact from its research with 25% of the impact our research being assessed as world leading.
Cutting explosion risk through advanced maths
While factory owners work hard to minimise the risks of fire or explosion in manufacturing plants there is always a trade-off between risk and cost, but making objective decisions proved difficult until a Brunel mathematician devised an algorithm to do just that. Dr Paresh Date’s work was eagerly adopted by UT Fire and Security - the world’s largest installer of industrial explosion protection systems. They use it to develop systems... read more
|Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts||College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences||18.35||25%||37%||29%||6%||3%||
Over 60% of our research in Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts was world leading or internationally excellent and we scored highly for the vitality and sustainability of our research environment. It reflects our commitment to support and develop this area. This leaves us in the upper quartile for research power.
Have you heard the word in song?
Research by Christopher Fox, Professor of Music at Brunel University London, has shed new light on how words are heard and understood when sung. Prof Fox created new music to test the way listeners responded to words and sound heard at the same time. His first work 20 Ways to Improve Your Life saw text from small-ads sung in a Renaissance style. Then, Sing a New Song, had different parts... read more
|Politics and International Studies||College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences||23.8||19%||45%||32%||4%||0%||
With a strong performance overall in this area, 100% of the impact made from our Politics and International Studies research is considered world-leading or internationally excellent.
The team have also improved research quality since 2008 and increased the number of staff submitted.
Questioning the critics of multiculturalism
Multiculturalism in Britain has been questioned by many commentators and politicians who see it as having failed by encouraging people to see themselves as ‘black’, ‘white’ or ‘Asian’ but not ‘British’. Political theorist, Dr Varun Uberoi, questions this criticism and his work has gone on to influence both British and Canadian politics and media. Writing for The Independent in 2011, Uberoi unpicked the inconsistencies in David Cameron’s speech in Munich... read more
|Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience||College of Health and Life Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies||22.6||20%||39%||34%||7%||0%||
Within Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, over 70% of the impact of our research and 100% of our research environment was rated as world leading.
National campaign tackles high HIV rate in Georgia
The number of people to be tested for HIV in the former Soviet Union country of Georgia has rocketed following Brunel research that led to the first ever national campaign into the disease. Professor of psychology Robin Goodwin led the research project into promoting sexual health in the country after being awarded two grants from the Soros Foundation and the European Union to fund the first systematic study of the... read more
|Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care||College of Health and Life Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies||10.3||20%||49%||22%||6%||3%||
Over two thirds of the research in Public Health, Health services and Primary Care is world leading or internationally excellent. 100% of the impact of our research also fell into the 4* and 3* categories.
Medical research – just what’s it worth exactly?
Public bodies, lobby groups and medical research charities have all benefited from important work to assess just how much impact health research has on society. Brunel’s Health Economics Research Group (HERG) has developed the payback framework technique over recent years – giving research –funding groups the chance to show policymakers and the public exactly what their investments have achieved. HERG’s 2008 report, ‘Medical Research: What’s it Worth’, has had a... read more
|Social Work and Social Policy||College of Health and Life Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies||16.1||26%||39%||27%||7%||1%||
65% of our work in social work and social policy was rated as world leading or internationally excellent, with our impact and environment rated strongly.
Families find support in drug and alcohol court model
Misuse of drugs and alcohol features in the majority of child care cases that reach a court of law. A new specialist court, working closely with families with drug or alcohol addicted parents, has been shown by Brunel researchers to be effective in keeping children living with their families. Where that’s not possible, the new system has proved itself very good at finding alternative homes for children more quickly than... read more
|Sociology||College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies||12||9%||51%||40%||0%||0%||
60% of our research in sociology was rated as internationally excellent or above, and this area has improved from its RAE 2008 ratings.
80% of our impact was also rated as internationally excellent or world leading.
Multicultural narratives missing from remembrance
The traditions of remembrance are repeated year after year in comforting ritual and moments of national unity follow patterns so familiar and sacred that the absence of ethnic minority groups often goes unnoticed and unchallenged. Yet it is deeply problematic for multicultural nations to have narratives that exclude people from their shared identity – an issue addressed by Dr Sanjay Sharma, senior lecturer at Brunel University in the Noise of... read more
|Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism||College of Health and Life Sciences||Institute of Environment, Health and Societies||28.9||38%||45%||13%||3%||1%||
Over 80% of our research in this area was rated as internationally excellent or world leading, a significant increase on RAE2008. This was an excellent result from one of our strongest growing areas where the number of staff submitting research has risen by 30%. This leaves us rated 5th in terms of research power.
Professor leads way in preventing abuse of athletes
Brunel’s Professor Celia Brackenridge has spent her career raising awareness of child protection and revolutionising the way the International Olympic Committee and UNICEF approach athlete welfare in sport. Awarded an OBE in 2012, Prof Brackenridge recently sat as Child Protection Expert on the Dame Janet Smith Review into abuse by Jimmy Savile at the BBC. Child protection in sport has been a particular focus of her work. She has described... read more
- College of Business, Arts & Social Sciences
- College of Health & Life Sciences
- College of Engineering, Design & Physical Sciences