Research excellence at Sheffield

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

REF 2021 illustration

Our vision is to produce the highest quality research to drive intellectual advances and address global challenges. The REF results demonstrate that we are advancing towards this goal. 

The REF is a retrospective exercise looking back over seven years of incredible research at our University. We’re proud of everything that our researchers, and those that support our research environment have achieved. But we’re also excited for the future and the inspiring discoveries we are yet to make. 

Our results

92 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 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.

We submitted to 25 different REF units of assessment comprising: 

  • All of our 1,690 independent researchers

  • 3,684 outputs (outputs can include peer-reviewed journal articles and books, as well as other types of research output such as designs and compositions)

  • 114 impact case studies (impact can include examples of improved technologies, public awareness, medical treatments, government policies or structural changes in society locally, nationally and internationally) 

Discover the breadth of research we do at the University of Sheffield. Visit and for the full list of the REF 2021 results please visit
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Mae & Charlie are here to tell you more about Applied Social Sciences

Applied Social Sciences student Mae and alumnus Charlie will tell you what they enjoy most about the course, what skills they have learned and how it has helped develop their career.

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.