University of Warwick recognised as international centre of research excellence by leading experts

The University of Warwick has today (May 12) cemented its position as one of the UK’s academic powerhouses – after 92% of its research was assessed as being ‘world leading or internationally excellent’ by a panel of global experts.

The four UK higher education funding bodies released their results on the quality and impact of research submitted by 157 institutions in the UK for the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

A remarkable 50% of Warwick’s submitted research was awarded the highest possible rating of ‘world leading’ (four stars), up from 37% in 2014.

A further 42% was assessed to be ‘internationally excellent’ (three stars) by the experts.

Other highlights from the REF2021 assessment for Warwick, included:

  • Four academic disciplines, Economics (2nd), Classics (3rd), Computer Science (4th), and Business & Management (5th) featured in the UK’s Top 5 institutions, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) analysis of the REF assessment.
  • A further five disciplines, Mathematical Sciences (6th), Law (8th), Philosophy (8th), Politics and International Studies (9th) and Sociology (10th) featured within Top 10.
  • Warwick was rated as 7th overall for ‘outputs’ which reflects the consistently high quality of its published academic work.
  • The results also recognised an increase in the economic and societal impact of the University’s research, which highlights the real-world benefit of the University’s work.

Commenting on the REF2021 assessment, Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Warwick, said: “These results demonstrate the truly world class quality of our research, our approach and most importantly our people.

“This is an outstanding achievement and a source of tremendous pride for everyone connected with this great institution.

“Our research has always been driven by a strong sense of purpose and commitment to ensuring what we do has a positive impact on wider society. From helping to save lives through our modelling work during the Covid pandemic, and the development of new, sustainable forms of transport and energy, to making a fairer criminal justice system, and supporting our cultural institutions and creative industries, our research delivers real-world benefit.

“Overall, the REF results also reflect the remarkable strength, quality and breadth of research within the UK. The future for our researchers is bright and exciting. We will continue to push boundaries, innovate and learn through our research work so we can benefit more people, in more places, more often.”

The REF is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in the country’s higher education institutions, last carried out in 2014. Expert panels made up of senior academics, international members, and research users review submissions from universities for each of the 34 subject-based units of assessment.

Submissions are assessed on the quality of outputs, such as publications, performances, and exhibitions, their impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research. Each of these receives a star rating, with four star ‘world-leading’ being the highest.

Examples of Warwick’s world class research include:

Warwick’s reputation as a global research centre of excellence is matched by its outstanding teaching credentials. It was named as University of the Year for Teaching Quality by the Sunday Times’ Good University Guide 2022.


Notes to editors:

About REF 2021

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

The REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies: Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE).