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Research Impact and Excellence

Over the past 50 years, our research has had a significant impact on both academic research and the computing industry.

The real-world impact of our research

Excellent research can have a positive impact beyond academia. It influences organisations, policymakers, communities and individuals who can use research to:

  • improve public policy and services
  • improve health and wellbeing
  • improve quality of life
  • drive the economy
  • help the environment

Seeing the real-world impact of research has become more and more important to funders. Since 2007, UK research councils require researchers to describe:

  • the potential impact of their research
  • how they’ll increase its success and adoption

Research projects

Our current impact-focused projects include:

  • advancing general methods of formal verification within railway signalling
  • representing, analysing, and synthesising complex evolving system models
  • cryptography and biometrics research resulting in new algorithms and technologies that can provide verifiability
  • novel tools for data analysis
  • technology to simulate brain and tissue development
  • power conversion capabilities of electronic chips in mobile devices

One project looks at design and standardisation of a foundational and domain-agnostic data model for describing the provenance of any object, artefact, of dataset.

Another focuses on a specification called Synthetic Biology Open language (SBOL). This provides a formalised syntax that allows designs to be captured digitally, reproduced and shared.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is how the UK assesses the quality of research from UK higher education providers. This also includes the real-world impact the research has had. 

REF 2014

The School of Computing received a fantastic result in the REF 2014 exercise. We jumped from 22nd to 9th place in the UK by GPA. This placed us in the top quartile for Computing Science.

All of our impact case studies were judged to be world-leading.

Impact was introduced to REF 2014, and was worth 20% of the assessment. 

We were ranked as the best research unit in the UK for impact, for our Computer Science and Informatics (UoA 11) submission. All our computer science impact case studies received the highest possible grade.

We presented the following case studies:

REF 2021

In REF2021 Research England increased Impact to be worth a total of 25% of the assessment.

We presented the following case studies: