18 May 2022

Research Excellence Framework 2021 Report Issued

REF 2021 found that the range of research disciplines was very wide and there was extensive evidence of interdisciplinary and internationally collaborative research.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a process of review, carried out by expert panels for each of 34 subject-based units of assessment (UOAs). The panels are made up of practising researchers, international members, research users and experts in interdisciplinary research. For REF 2021 the discipline areas covered by each of the main panels were:

  • Main Panel A: Medicine, health and life sciences
  • Main Panel B: Physical sciences, engineering and mathematics
  • Main Panel C: Social sciences
  • Main Panel D: Arts and humanities

Many of the disciplines covered by IOM3 showed significant increases in outputs. There was evidence of good representation of manufacturing research in areas such as materials science and increasing research in biotechnology and related applications. There was also evidence of excellence in the field of materials characterisation using advanced techniques, which aligns well with the new IOM3 Technical Community Group in this space.

IOM3 CEO Colin Church FIMMM CEnv, said, ‘The REF 2021 outcomes for the disciplines covered by IOM3 show the research community in the UK to be in good health, producing outputs both of relevance and benefit to the UK and wider community. It’s especially encouraging to see evidence that there’s more opportunities for crucial research in these areas that will underpin the UK’s drive towards Net-Zero in 2050.’

Also of direct relevance to IOM3 was evidence of strong research representation and capability from fields relating to energy capture, storage and energy materials. Specific mention was made of the representation from geotechnical engineering with applications across a number of sectors including renewable energy and transport.

Read more about REF 2021: https://www.ref.ac.uk/