About the REF

Each year around £2 billion of research funding is distributed to UK universities by the higher education funding bodies.

The funding bodies assess the quality of research at UK universities in order to distribute funds on the basis of quality. This assessment was previously known as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which was last conducted in 2008.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) replaced the RAE. It assessed the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines. The results were published in December 2014 and will be used by the funding bodies to allocate block-grant research funding to universities from 2015-16.

The REF provides important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of UK universities.

How does the REF work?

The REF comprises 36 subject-based units of assessment (UoA). The LUMS REF submission was made to UoA 19: Business and Management Studies. All submissions were assessed by a panel of experts who produced an overall quality profile for each submission. Each overall quality profile shows the proportion of research activity judged by the panels to have met each of the four starred quality levels defined below, in steps of 1%:

Result Definition
Four star Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
Three star Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence.
Two star Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
One star Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
Unclassified (UC) Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work. Or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of this assessment.