College of Science & Engineering

Excellent results in the Research Excellence Framework

The College of Science and Engineering has excelled in the REF 2021 results.

The REF 2021 (Research Excellence Framework) results were published on 12 May 2022, and across all subjects within the College we have performed outstandingly. When including the assessment of our joint submissions, we are in the top five** in the UK across all Schools and College Centres for research power and two of our units of assessment are at the very top*. No other university outside of the Oxford-Cambridge-London “golden triangle” achieved this level of performance.

The University of Edinburgh has been ranked fourth in the UK and is Scotland’s top ranked institution, based on the quality and breadth of its research, known as research power by Times Higher Education rankings. Our submission was also one of the largest and most comprehensive in the UK. Around 2800 individuals, all of the University’s academic independent researcher workforce, had their research assessed.

At College level, 55% of our research outputs were classed as world leading and 96% as either world leading or internationally excellent.  Our environment, which measures our combined contribution to the vitality and sustainability of the research base, was universally rated as predominantly world leading and always at least, internationally excellent.*

The REF is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies every 6 or 7 years to secure the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within UK higher education.  

The Research Excellence Framework has, once again, confirmed our excellence in research across the board in science, engineering and mathematics.  This has come through intense collaboration with our partner universities for joint submissions; from the outgoing attitude of our researchers to challenging research that crosses traditional disciplines; and from our deep and enduring commitment to foundational study.  The headline results speak for themselves.  Our assessments are top in the UK for research power in Computer Science and Informatics and in Chemistry.  We are in the top five** in the UK across all of our College.  No other university outside of the Oxford-Cambridge-London “golden triangle” achieved this level of performance.  This affirmation of our research strength coincides with the opening later this year of massive new spaces for students, allowing our next generation to benefit immediately from our research prowess.

Professor David Robertson & Professor Iain GordonCurrent and incoming Head of College 

*According to Times Higher Education rankings

**When including the assessment of our joint submissions - Times Higher Education rankings.

Overview of College REF results

Times Higher Education Rankings

University of Edinburgh REF results