Research excellence

REF 2014: Firth Court in backgroundSheffield is in the top 10 per cent of UK universities

The quality of research in Universities across the UK is assessed periodically by the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The most recent results were published in December 2014. The REF is a peer-review exercise, involving expert researchers, as well as users of research from industry, business, and the public and third sectors.

The assessment takes three elements into consideration: the quality of research outputs, such as books, journal articles, conference proceedings and datasets; the strength of the impact of research - the difference our research has made beyond the University; the quality of the research environment – policies in place to support staff and doctoral students, facilities and resources and the contribution of our academic staff to their discipline.


REF 2014 presents the results by subject area and quality is graded as follows:

4* world leading
3* internationally excellent
2* internationally recognised
1* nationally recognised

99% of research at Sheffield was assessed as internationally recognised or better.

Pie chart: REF results University of Sheffield


box_purple.jpg33% World leading


box_blue.jpg 52% Internationally excellent


box_yellow.jpg13% Recognised internationally


box-green.jpg 1% Recognised nationally

The full results for Sheffield are detailed below:

Unit of assessment Multiple submission Cat A FTE submitted 4* 3* 2* 1* UC
1 Clinical Medicine 63.95 28 58 14 0 0
2 Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care 74.32 30 62 7 1 0
3 Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy A: Dentistry 33.2 30 62 7 1 0
3 Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy B: Biomedical Science 64.66 55 41 4 0 0
4 Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience 33.45 38 42 18 1 0
5 Biological Sciences 44.9 48 44 8 0 0
7 Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences 23.9 19 61 19 1 0
8 Chemistry 29.2 21 77 2 0 0
9 Physics 30 23 67 9 1 0
10 Mathematical Sciences 34 20 69 11 0 0
11 Computer Science and Informatics 30.5 47 45 8 0 0
12 Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering A: Mechanical Engineering and Advance Manufacturing 44.6 22 67 11 0 0
12 Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering B: Chemical and Biological Engineering 30 18 71 10 1 0
13 Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials A: Electronic and Electrical Engineering 34.8 25 72 3 0 0
13 Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials B: Materials Science and Engineering 34.8 23 69 8 0 0
14 Civil and Construction Engineering 34.8 25 70 5 0 0
15 General Engineering 21.8 44 52 4 0 0
16 Architecture, Built Environment and Planning 34 48 37 14 1 0
17 Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology A: Archaeology 17.6 26 46 23 5 0
17 Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology B: Geography 24.9 25 56 18 1 0
18 Economics and Econometrics 14.9 13 48 31 0 8
19 Business and Management Studies 34.5 33 48 17 2 0
20 Law 24.4 34 55 11 0 0
21 Politics and International Studies 18 52 37 10 1 0
22 Social Work and Social Policy 17.8 26 53 20 1 0
25 Education 14.5 38 56 6 0 0
27 Area Studies 14 13 54 30 3 0
28 Modern Languages and Linguistics A: Languages and Culture 33.2 31 41 23 5 0
28 Modern Languages and Linguistics B: Linguistics 7 28 45 27 0 0
29 English Language and Literature 39.05 40 42 16 2 0
30 History 27.45 45 41 13 1 0
32 Philosophy 19.2 33 52 15 0 0
33 Theology and Religious Studies 4 21 51 28 0 0
35 Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts 12.42 48 36 14 2 0
36 Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management 22.3 38 34 20 8 0