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Business School increases its Research Power by 127% in REF2021

12 May 2022

Newcastle University Business School has increased its global research power by 127% in the REF2021, the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF2021), an assessment of research activity in UK higher education providers looks at:

  • the quality of our research outputs;
  • the impact of our research beyond academia;
  • the environment that supports research.

42% of the University’s research has been scored as world-leading (4*), up from 31% in REF2014. The University’s Research Power has grown by 65%, compared to 2014.

To generate the latest results, Newcastle University’s performance in 27 ‘Units of Assessment’ was reviewed by expert panels.

A graphic displaying the headline stats from 2021

Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, Professor Chris Day commented on the University's results: “The results of REF2021 confirm that the research, researchers and teams at Newcastle University are recognised as Visibly Leading in their disciplines and are changing the world for the better.

“The results also recognise the progress we have made on our Vision and Strategy. By working together and integrating research for discovery and impact with education for life, engagement and place, and global strategies, we are growing in research capacity and power.”

Boost to School’s Research Power

One of the Units of Assessment, Business and Management Studies, reflects the research excellence of Newcastle University Business School. The School’s Research Power has increased by 127% since REF2014.

REF2021 has been conducted by the four higher education funding councils for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It grades the quality of research staff from 4* (world-leading), to 1*(nationally recognised). Research falling below this standard is rated ‘unclassified’.

The REF2021 showed that 27% of the Business School’s research was assessed as 4*(world-leading).

I commend everyone across the University who has worked so hard to deliver the outstanding research that is reflected in today’s results.

Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University

Demonstrating impact

In the category that focuses on the impact of research beyond academia, 27.80% of our research has been assessed as having outstanding impacts in terms of reach and significance. This was evidenced by the submission of nine case studies that are underpinned by our excellent research.

Dr Fiona Whitehurst, Director of Impact for Newcastle University Business School at the time of the REF submission, said: “We're thrilled to see a significant increase in the proportion of our research assessed as having very considerable impacts outside academia compared with REF2014.

“This reflects a step-change in our research culture over the assessment period and is the result of ongoing research-informed engagement activities across the Business School leading to substantial real-world impact co-produced with various beneficiaries, communities, organisations and policymakers across the UK and the rest of the world.”

Instrumental research environment

Our research environment was judged to be instrumental in producing research of world-leading and internationally excellent quality and enabling outstanding and very considerable impact, in terms of its vitality and sustainability.

Natasha Mauthner, Director of Research at Newcastle University Business School, said: “We are delighted that we have created a thriving and sustainable research culture that is diverse, inclusive, and collegial. This environment has fostered research excellence and enabled our researchers to produce cutting-edge research with real-world impacts.”

the outside of the Business School buildings on a sunny day