About REF 2014

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) as the chief measure of both quality and impact among UK universities and a key component of the funding allocation process. HEIs made submissions to 31 different UoAs according to their disciplines, of which Leeds submitted to 33.

For full details see www.ref.ac.uk

Measuring performance
Research performance is measured on a scale from 4* (world-leading) to unclassified.

4*    Quality that is world leading
3*    Quality that is internationally excellent
2*    Quality that is recognised internationally
1*    Quality that is recognised nationally
U     Quality that is below the standard of nationally recognised; or work that is not eligible for the REF

Results are broken down into a set of four profiles, which detail the percentage of research falling into each rating. Profiles are produced for each of the three key areas – output, impact and environment – as well as an overall quality profile which aggregates these according to their individual weightings. The weightings for the three areas are:

Outputs              65%
Impact                20%
Environment      15%

REF assessed research published over the period from 1 January 2008 to 31 July 2013 (or December 31st 2013 in the case of outputs). Leeds submitted to 33 out of the 36 UoAs.

Drawing comparisons with RAE 2008
It is difficult to draw direct comparisons with RAE 2008 results, particularly at a subject level, due to a number of different in methodology, specifically;

  • Methodology: Only the outputs sub-profile has remained consistent. The approach to assessing ‘environment is new and ‘impact’ has replaced the use of ‘esteem’ used in 2008.
  • Changes to subject groupings. REF 2014 covered 36 UoAs and RAE 2008  used 67 (Leeds submitted into 46 subjects). For example, a new UoA for ‘modern languages’ brings together the separate UoAs for Italian, German, French, Spanish etc. This change is expected to have a considerable impact on rankings for subjects. Download the mapping of 2008 to 2014 units of assessment.