12 May 2022

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 Sheffield University Management School's research has been 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.

Sheffield University Management School's 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 extremely proud of our extensive external collaborations and partnerships that lie at the heart of our positive societal impact through research. We will be celebrating our successes with our whole research community who have made these achievements possible. Our REF2021 Impact Case Studies reflect our strong partnerships with employers, policy makers and NGOs around the world, and clearly demonstrate the important contribution that we are making to addressing global societal challenges through our excellent research.

Professor Rachael Finn

Dean of Sheffield University Management School

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. 

REF 2021 illustration

Research Excellence Framework 2021 results

The results demonstrate our research and impact excellence across a broad range of disciplines and confirm that our research is having a significant positive impact on lives across the globe.