College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

UK Research Assessment (REF2014) results

The College’s reputation as one of the world’s leading centres of medical and veterinary medical research has been reaffirmed by its UK REF2014 results.

CMVM research

The College again achieved an outstanding UK research assessment outcome by the key comparators - research quality, research power (quality x volume) and ranking relative to other UK higher education institutions (HEIs). Research power is the globally recognised determinant of research reputation, and within the UK ultimately influences recurrent funding to HEIs by Higher Education Funding Councils.


The College made three submissions to REF2014 - from Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Neuroscience.

  • Medicine, the University of Edinburgh’s largest submission, was ranked in the top 5 in the UK
  • Veterinary Medicine came 1st in the UK, and retained its position as the UK’s top Vet School. It made a joint submission with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)
  • Neuroscience was ranked 3rd in the UK out of 82 submissions, representing a major advance
  • Overall, 84% of the College’s research activity was rated world leading or internationally excellent (3* and 4*)
  • In terms of ‘one medicine’ research (human and animal medicine), the University of Edinburgh’s research power (quality x volume) is the strongest in the UK
  • The College’s three REF submissions were the University’s largest and also were some of the largest REF submissions in the UK, emphasising the enormous power of Edinburgh’s research in human and animal medicine and health


  • Medicine at the University of Edinburgh yet again achieved excellent results and retained its position as a UK top five Medical School, as defined by research power
  • In a very dense data set, we are delighted that Edinburgh is in the top 5 UK medical schools in every recognised approach to ranking
  • 88% of the submission was judged to be world leading (4* 44%) or internationally excellent (3* 44%)
  • 75% of our impact case studies were judged to be of world leading standard (4*)
  • Crucially, Edinburgh was one of only a very small number of universities to increase both its 3* and 4* rated research whilst significantly increasing the number of researchers returned, by 23%, demonstrating the research power and advancement of the Medical School
  • Medicine at Edinburgh was again rated top in Scotland
  • Our submission to Unit of Assessment 1, Clinical Medicine, comprised over 200 research staff, predominantly from the Queen’s Medical Research Institute and the Institute for Genetics and Molecular Medicine

Veterinary Medicine

  • Veterinary Medicine came 1st in the UK, and retained its position as the UK’s top Vet School
  • The submission was ranked the most powerful in the UK
  • The Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies made a joint submission with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), building on a long history of collaboration and complementary activities
  • Three quarters of the research and related activity submitted was judged to be world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*)
  • The impact of research scored particularly highly, demonstrating how the research undertaken leads to practical benefits for society - for example, research from the Roslin Institute is helping salmon farmers to breed fish that are more resistant to a deadly virus which causes infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN). In a severe IPN outbreak, as many as 90% of farmed fish can be lost. The discovery is estimated be worth around £26 million per year to the UK salmon farming industry
  • The result is a clear demonstration of the benefits that University and SRUC research is bringing to human and animal health and food and environmental security


  • Edinburgh Neuroscience leaps from within the top quarter in RAE2008 to 3rd in the UK in REF2014 in research power
  • Our research outputs rank 3rd out of 82 submissions in UK for both power and impact
  • Our cohesive community of Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Neuroscientists is the 3rd largest in UK and achieved a top score (100%) for research environment
  • More than 80% of our impact case studies are ranked world class
  • Our number of world leading publications (4*) has more than doubled since 2008
  • We are ranked top in Scotland

Social Sciences

  • A number of the College’s Social Scientists, mainly based in the Centre for Population Health Sciences, were returned in REF Unit of Assessment 22, Social Work and Social Policy
  • Edinburgh’s submission, the largest in the UK, was ranked third in the UK and first in Scotland, with increased volume and world leading (4*) rated activity

Biological Sciences

  • The College collaborates closely with the School of Biological Sciences, particularly in the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine on the Little France campus and Edinburgh Infectious Diseases, so we are delighted to report that the submission to Unit of Assessment 5 Biological Sciences was ranked 3rd in the UK, experiencing a massive increase in 4* research and a total of 91% 3* and 4* rated research activity

The University of Edinburgh

  • The University of Edinburgh’s position as one of Britain’s leading research universities – and Scotland’s top-ranked research institution – has been reaffirmed by the REF2014 results
  • The University rose to 4th in UK rankings
  • Its total submission was one of the largest and most comprehensive in the UK. A total of 1,852 individuals – more than 80 per cent of the institution’s academic staff – had their research assessed across 31 subject areas

An exceptionally strong performance across the whole of the University’s research activity

Professor Sir Timothy O’SheaPrincipal of the University of Edinburgh

About REF2014

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). It replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and was completed in December 2014. The REF provides a robust and thorough assessment of the quality of universities’ research in all disciplines. The research of 52,061 academic staff from 154 UK universities was peer-reviewed by a series of panels comprising UK and international experts, and external users of research. The REF was undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies.

The quality levels used in REF2014 are:

  • 4* World-leading
  • 3* Internationally excellent
  • 2* Recognised internationally
  • 1* Recognised nationally
  • U Unclassified

The REF2014 results are published here: