‘Remarkable results’ for FASS in the REF 2021

Researchers at work

Two departments in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster University achieved the highest possible score for impact in the Research Excellence Framework results published today (May 12).

The Research Excellence Framework (REF), carried out approximately every seven years, assesses the quality of research across UK universities and demonstrates its impact on a domestic and global stage.

The Department of Educational Research and the Department of Linguistics and English Language are both rated ‘outstanding’ for 100% of their research impact and therefore both are rated joint top in the UK for impact.

Linguistics is also rated ‘world-leading’ for 100% of its research environment and ranked 2nd in the UK for overall research quality.

Other notable successes for the Faculty include:

  • The Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion is ranked 2nd in the UK in relation to its research power, 8th for its research environment and 88% of its research being ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
  • The Sociology Department (sociology; media and social work) is ranked 2nd in the UK for research outputs, 6th for overall research quality, and 9th for research power.
  • The Law School is ranked 6th in the UK for research impact, with 88% of its impact rated ‘outstanding’.
  • The Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA, covering Architecture, Design, Film, Fine Art and Theatre) is ranked 8th in the UK for research impact, with 75% of its impact judged to be ‘outstanding’.
  • Almost half (46%) of the research published by the Department of English Literature and Creative Writing is judged to be ‘world leading’ and nearly all of the remainder assessed as ‘internationally excellent’.
  • Two thirds of the History Department’s research impact is classed as ‘outstanding’, making it 12th in the UK for outstanding impact.
  • The Department of Languages and Cultures (DeLC) contributed to several different submissions including Art and Design, and English Language and Literature, highlighting the department’s strong interdisciplinary collaborative approach.

The REF evaluates the impact that research has on the academic environment and society and highlights its real-world benefits.

The four UK higher education funding bodies use the REF, managed by a REF team based at Research England, and a steering group from the four funding bodies, to inform the allocation of £2 billion of research funding per year.

The exercise is designed to provide accountability for public investment in research, demonstrating its benefits and impact.

FASS Dean Professor Paul Connolly said: “These are truly remarkable results and are testament, once again, to the global standing of the Faculty and its wide range of Departments. Not only has the quality of the research we publish been independently assessed to be world leading and internationally excellent, but it has also been confirmed that we are achieving real-world impact and positive change through our research. As a Faculty, we work very closely with a wide-range of external partners in the community, government, public sector and business and industry. We are very proud of this work and it is great to see this recognised by how highly we have been ranked for the impact that our research is having.”

FASS Associate Dean for Research Professor Stephen Wilkinson, said: “I would like to thank all those involved across the faculty and beyond for their many and varied contributions to these results and to encourage colleagues to reflect with pride on the scale of their achievements, made all the more impressive by the extraordinary background circumstances in which the submission had to be prepared.”

Back to News