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Aston in the Research Excellence Framework

Aston REF

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). It replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and was completed in December 2014.

The REF was undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies. The exercise was managed by the REF team based at HEFCE and overseen by the REF Steering Group, consisting of representatives of the four funding bodies.

Aston's performance in the REF at a glance

  • 78% of research submitted we have been evaluated as 'world leading' or 'internationally recognised'. That's up from 45% in 2008
  • In the category of Allied Health, 94% of our research is World Leading or Internationally Excellent (3*/4*)
  • In the category of Impact, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Business all achieved 100% 3* and 4* impact. A total 88.7% of Aston's research was found to have high levels of impact.
  • The REF has also recognised Aston as a great place for researchers, with 100% of Modern Languages and Linguistics, Business and Allied Health's submissions rated at 3* or 4* for Environment.

How we compare

  • In Area Studies we are Top 3 in the UK - beating Oxford and Cambridge
  • We are Top 5 in Allied Health Professions, with our Pharmacists, Biologists and Optometrists beating most of the Russell Group
  • Aston Business School is 17th out of 101 institutions for 3* and 4* Impact
  • We rank top 20 for 3 and 4* rated impact, putting us ahead of Birmingham, Warwick and many of our competitors.

Equality and Diversity in the REF

Aston University undertook its selection of staff for inclusion in the submission to the REF 2014 in accordance with the following principles:

  • Transparency;
  • Consistency;
  • Accountability;
  • Inclusivity. 

In order to assess the impact of our selection on our staff, the University conducted an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) on its REF submission.  Read the EIA.

Results by area

The impact of Aston's research on society

The impact of Aston's research on society

Excellent Different Distinctive