12 May 2022

Faculty of Engineering celebrates its impactful research

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.

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
  • The Faculty of Engineering was submitted as two Units of Assessment (UoA) - one for Computer Science (UoA 11) and one for six engineering departments, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Nuclear AMRC (NAMRC), (UoA 12)
  • We are proud that for UoA 12, 96 per cent of our research is rated in the highest two categories in the REF 2021 and for UoA 11, 99 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 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 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.

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 Faculty of Engineering submitted two Units of Assessment to the REF 2021:

  1. Computer Science and Informatics, UoA11 (Dept. Computer Science), which included, 57 independent researchers, 127 publications and 5 impact case studies
  2. Engineering, UoA12 (6 FoE Departments, AMRC, and NAMRC), which included 258 independent researchers, 645 publications and 11 Impact Case Studies

For Computer Science (UoA11), we are proud that 99 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. 

We are rated as 8th nationally for the quality of our research environment, showing that the Department of Computer Science is a vibrant and progressive place to undertake research. 

For Engineering (UoA12), we are proud to have come 8th in the REF 2021 in terms of the quality of our research. 96 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. 

We are rated as top nationally for the quality of our research environment, showing that Engineering at Sheffield is a vibrant, innovative and supportive place to undertake research. 

Our impact submission is rated 10th nationally, showing our research is playing a fundamental role in tackling the greatest challenges of our time and making a real-world difference to peoples’ lives around the world.

“We are extremely proud of the partnerships and collaborations that have contributed to our success and will be celebrating with the whole engineering research community who have made these achievements possible. 

“Our impact case studies, which describe partnerships with local and global businesses and other academic partners from around the world, range from energy to infrastructure, healthcare to manufacturing and voice technology, to combating disinformation and abuse online, have impacted the lives of many people around the world” said Professor Jim Litster, Vice-President and Head of Engineering 

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.