Research 13.07.24

Salford rises 22 places in the research excellence framework league table

The University of Salford’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) results have now been released publicly and we are proud to share with you some key areas of research which have been recognised as world-leading and internationally excellent.

The league table showing institutional performance, published by the Times Higher Education today in response to REF, has placed us at 65th in the UK in terms of research quality, an impressive 22 place jump up from 87.

“The results are testament to the hard work and diligence of those involved in our research and we are pleased to see areas of our expertise being recognised as world-leading in all our submissions,” says Professor Karl Dayson, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research and Enterprise.

Our latest REF results

The results of REF 2021 confirm the excellence of the research carried out at Salford and we are delighted to report that 78% of our research has been rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Highlights include:

  • In five unit submissions our research impact was rated as 100% outstanding or very considerable in terms of reach and significance;
  • Our highest performing submission for ‘outputs’ was Area Studies with 44% rated as world-leading and 94% rated as world-leading or internationally excellent;
  • Our highest performing submission for ‘impact’ was Social Work & Social Policy with 75% of impact rated as outstanding and 100% rated as outstanding or very considerable;
  • Our highest performing submission for ‘environment’ was Architecture, Built Environment and Planning with 63% of the environment rated as world-leading and 100% rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.

An important aspect of performance measured by sector league tables is the grade point average (GPA). Compared to REF 2014 we have seen the following notable improvements:

  • Our overall institutional GPA has increased from 2.54 to 3.0 which puts us closer to the sector average;
  • GPA for both ‘outputs’ and ‘impact’ has increased in 10 of 11 of our submissions and our ‘environment’ GPA has increased in 7 submissions;
  • The biggest improvement across our submission has been our ‘impact’ GPA for Engineering, which has increased from 1.6 to 3.33, and is now consistent with the sector for this unit of assessment;
  • Our largest unit of assessment, Allied Health, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy, which represents over one quarter of our institutional submission, has improved its rating in all three aspects of the submission from 2.63 to 3.01 overall.


We are pleased to share that 88% of our research impact has been rated as outstanding or very considerable in terms of its reach and significance, which places us at 51st in the Times Higher Education league table for impact.

These results represent our belief that our research should directly benefit the world around us, making a demonstrable contribution and improvement to society, the economy, the environment, technology, and community wellbeing.

"Reflecting our commitment to excellence, industrial collaboration and the aims of our Innovation Strategy, they represent another step towards achieving our strategic goals as an institution. I am delighted that our successes will help to boost our areas of strategic global leadership,” adds Professor Karl Dayson.

Celebrating our research

As we look forward to our future with confidence it is important that we recognise the real-world impact we have having locally, nationally and internationally.

Over the next week our REF 2021 results will coincide with a wider celebration of research at Salford. We plan to recognise key areas of research from across the institution, the colleagues that play such a vital role in our success, and the partners that help us along the way. Stay tuned to our social media channels to follow the campaign.

To find out more about REF activity at the University of Salford, please visit the Ref 2021 web page.