REF2014 Results

The College of Humanities and Social Science achieved an extremely strong result in the REF2014 exercise, improving markedly on our previous performance.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the quality of our work in relation to our outputs (publications and other outputs), our research environment, and the societal and economic impact of our research.

How we performed

The College submitted the work of a very large number of colleagues (757.22 FTE) across 23 different Units of Assessment, including a multiple submission to Modern Languages.

Using the widely used and respected research power index (a combination of quality index and volume), the College had 11 Units which were within the top five of the UK, and 18 Units which were ranked first in Scotland.

One area - Sociology - was top-ranked in both the United Kingdom and Scotland.

In addition to Sociology, five Units were placed within the top three within the UK and Scotland:

  • History
  • Psychology
  • Social Policy & Social Work
  • Architecture and Landscape Architecture (part of a joint submission with Heriot-Watt)
  • Theology

An additional four Units were within the top five in the UK:

  • Law
  • Anthropology
  • Education
  • Classics

Impact and environment

REF2014 was the first of its kind to ask institutions to demonstrate the impact of their research on the wider world, including the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life in Scotland, the UK and internationally.

Particular highlights of our results, therefore, are our impact outcomes (85% scoring the top grade of four star and/or three star) and our research environment outcomes (95% scoring 4* and/or 3*).

Across the College, seven Units of Assessment achieved 100% 4* and 3* impact results:

  • Law
  • Politics
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Education
  • Psychology-Psychiatry-Neuroscience
  • Art and Design (Edinburgh College of Art)

A further seven Units achieved over 90% 4* and 3* Impact results.

These results emphasise both the success of our colleagues in creating an environment conducive to very high quality research, and also our success in taking the benefits of our research outside academia.

The College has achieved a superb result, which combines a large-scale, broad and diverse submission with very high quality outcomes: the majority of our Units have achieved a top five position in the UK and in Scotland. We're particularly proud of the very strong impact scores of our research.

Dorothy Miell

Head of the College of Humanities and Social Science

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