12 May 2022

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning celebrates its results in the Research Excellence Framework 2021

REF 2021 illustration
  • 95 per cent of research and its real-world impact in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning has been rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • Our department's submission was rated top in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning for the quality of our research environment in REF 2021
  • 100 per cent of our research impact was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • The Research Excellence 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 ground-breaking ideas into real-world solutions

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning 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 95 per cent of the Department’s research as world-leading or internationally excellent. This reaffirms the research excellence at the University of Sheffield in the field of Architecture, Built Environment and Planning.

We are proud that our submission – in conjunction with the School of Architecture and the Department of Landscape Architecture – has come 3rd nationally in the REF 2021 in terms of the quality of our research.  We are also very pleased that our commitment to research that makes a difference has been recognised, and 100 per cent of our research impact rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.

We are rated top for the quality of our research environment nationally, showing that the University of Sheffield is a vibrant, creative and supportive place to undertake research and generate notable impacts in the fields of architecture, built environment, urban studies and planning.

"We are extremely proud of the innovative research, partnerships and collaborations that have led to our success in REF2021. These excellent results are testament to the commitment of our staff to both research of significance that generates knowledge about the world, and to working in partnership with local communities, charities, businesses and policy-makers to help make fairer, healthier and more sustainable places," said Head of Department Professor David Robinson.

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 ground-breaking 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.

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