12 May 2022

Economics at the University of Sheffield celebrates its impactful research

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results confirm our research is changing lives and shaping the world we live in.

REF 2021 illustration
  • 92 per cent of research and its real-world impact at the University of Sheffield has been rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 90 per cent of our research in the Department of Economics and the Management School is rated in the highest two categories in the REF 2021, meaning it is classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • The REF results are used to inform the allocation of around £2 billion per year of public funding for research
  • The University of Sheffield’s submission to the REF included 3,684 outputs, 114 impact case studies and 1,690 staff
  • The framework assesses the quality of our research, as well as the impact of that research beyond academia, measuring the benefits of innovative collaboration with business, industry, the public sector and civil society organisations which help to translate groundbreaking ideas into real-world solutions

The University of Sheffield is today (12 May 2022) celebrating its pioneering research which is addressing some of the biggest global challenges and making a real-world impact.

The publication of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), a national assessment of the research taking place across UK universities, has classed 92 per cent of the University of Sheffield’s research as world-leading or internationally excellent. This reaffirms the institute's research excellence across a range of disciplines.

We are proud that 90 per cent of our research is rated in the highest two categories in the REF 2021, meaning it is classed as world-leading or internationally excellent. The Department of Economics at the University of Sheffield formed a submission to REF with colleagues in the Management School.

Our impact submission is rated 8th nationally, showing our research is instrumental in tackling the greatest challenges of our time and making a real-world difference to organisations and societies around the world.

We are very pleased with our REF results, showing how highly our research is rated by our peers. The REF case studies demonstrate the impact that our research has on real issues globally. For example, our work on evaluating health outcomes and measuring their cost effectiveness is used by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and similar authorities in other countries, ensuring the best use of resources to fund the most effective healthcare for people around the world. 

Professor Steven McIntosh

Head of the Department of Economics

The REF results are used to inform the allocation of around £2 billion per year of public funding for universities’ research which aims to make a difference to people’s lives across the globe.

The framework assesses university research according to the quality of research outputs, such as journal articles, books and designs; the impact of research beyond academia, looking at the benefits of innovative collaboration with business, industry, the public sector and civil society organisations which help to translate groundbreaking ideas into real-world solutions; and the environment within universities that supports research.

Professor Sue Hartley, Vice-President for Research at the University of Sheffield, said:

I’m really proud that our REF results confirm that our research is making an impact, but I’m also excited about the future. 

We’ve set ourselves an ambitious vision for our research to be world-leading and world-changing, to drive intellectual advances and address global challenges. 

Together I would like us to build on from our REF results and continue to enable and actively promote a culture of research excellence across our community for the benefit of our University, our researchers and the wider world.

The University of Sheffield’s submission to the REF included 3,684 outputs, 114 impact case studies and 1,690 staff.

REF is a retrospective exercise looking back over seven years of ground breaking research achieved by leading researchers, and those that support the research environment. The REF is a milestone for inspiring future discoveries and continuing to make a difference to lives across the world. 

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.