REF 2021: University of Stirling research is making a global difference | On

Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “I am extremely proud of the University’s performance in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. Compared to previous REF 2014 results , we have improved in all three pillars. evaluation – research results, impact and environment – key markers of excellence that reflect the progress we have made over the past seven years.

“This important independent recognition underscores our commitment to using our innovative, interdisciplinary research to meet the needs of society and reflects the hard work and dedication of our staff who ensure that purpose and impact are at the center of everything. what we do.

“As we look to the future, we will continue to build on the progress we have made. Excellent opportunities are available to the University, including those presented by the multi-million pound investment in economic and social betterment, based on University-led research, made possible by Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.

REF 2021 results

The REF is conducted every six to seven years to assess the quality of research in UK universities; show research quality and results nationally and globally; and illustrate the impact of research on the academic environment and our society, as well as its benefits in the real world. The process – which assesses research output, impact and environment – ​​is carried out jointly by the four UK higher education funding bodies, including the Scottish Funding Council, and informs the allocation of approximately £2 billion in research funding each year.

After improving in each of the three pillars of assessment between 2014 and 2021, Stirling has seen an overall increase in the proportion of research considered to be world-leading or internationally excellent (71.9% in 2014 to 80 .74% in 2021). The percentage of academic research rated as having exceptional or very significant impact – the highest marks in this category – was 87.05%, up from 82.6% in 2014.

The research environment – ​​incorporating strategy, culture, facilities and interdisciplinary collaboration – also improved over the period, reaching 85% (up from 78.1% in 2014).


Professor Judith Phillips, Deputy Director (Research), welcomed the results of the REF.

Main strengths

The University’s Institute of Aquaculture ranked 1st in the UK, in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science, for Impact – with 100% of its research having exceptional impact, the highest rating possible.

Similarly, all research (100%) from the biological and environmental sciences was classified as having exceptional or very considerable impact – ranking it ex 12and in the UK for Geography and Environmental Studies.

Social sciences also performed well – 3rd placerd in Scotland and 23rd in the UK for Social Work and Social Policy – ​​with 88% of its research rated global or internationally excellent.

Notably, the University is set to build on its success in these three areas, with the establishment of the National Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Hub, Scotland’s International Environment Center and the Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub, as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.

Other highlights include:

  • Education: top 20 in the UK for impact and research environment
  • History: 15and in the UK for Impact, 3rd in Scotland for results and impact
  • Sports and exercise sciences, recreation and tourism: 1st in Scotland for outings
  • Communication, cultural and media studies, library and information: 2n/a across Scotland
  • Philosophy: common 1st in Scotland for impact
  • Psychology: 2n/a in Scotland for impact

Professor Judith Phillips, Deputy Director (Research) at the University of Stirling, said: “I am delighted that the University’s collaborative and interdisciplinary research has been recognized in the latest REF assessment.

“At Stirling, we understand that research is a collaborative enterprise and that all of our staff and students contribute to our research culture and environment.

“Our REF result reflects the contribution of our entire community and partners.”

harry-adam
The university’s president of the court, Harry Adam, spoke of his “great pride” in the research on Stirling.

Harry Adam, President of University Court, said: “On behalf of University Court, I extend our congratulations to the research community at the University of Stirling on the positive results of the REF.

“It is with great pride that we continue to see Stirling’s research make a difference in the world.”

For more information, please visit our REF 2021 and Research web pages.