Research Excellence Framework

At ARU we're committed to transforming lives through innovative, inclusive and entrepreneurial education and research. The most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) results highlight the impact our research has on people’s lives – as we focus on tackling real-world issues, and improving the societies we live in.

An array of rainbow and trans (blue, pink and white) flags held in the hands of blurry people

The Research Excellence Framework is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, and is carried out every six to seven years.

REF 2021 results were published on 12 May 2022, and they confirm that we have significantly increased the quality and impact of our research.

ARU submitted research in sixteen subject areas, and nine of those were judged to have achieved world-leading 'impact' – that is the change or benefit they have made to the wider world. Every subject area included some research rated as world-leading.

We’re incredibly proud of our staff and the life-changing research they are carrying out. Here, you can read a series of case studies that illustrate the depth and breadth of research work being conducted out at ARU.

Human eye seen sideways on
Three older people and a carer playing instruments in a music therapy session
The cast of Come Yew In!, a community performance initiated by Jeannette Baxter
Four teenagers using tablets, phones and laptops, two sitting on a green sofa, and two sitting in front of it
A woman and a young girl smiling and hugging on a sofa
Yazidi mother and children

Developing a framework for genocidal intent

Explore Dr Aldo Zammit Borda and Dr Alexander R J Murray's work
Farmer in India using a smartphone app

Embedding food system sustainability into policy

Explore Prof Aled Jones and his team's work
A statue of Lady Justice, blindfolded and holding a sword and a set of scales

Enhancing criminal justice processes in rape trials

Explore Dr Olivia Smith's work
Front cover of the book Solar Story by Allan Drummond

Increasing understanding of environmental issues

Explore Allan Drummond's work
Four people meeting in an office

Helping local government create new revenue streams

Explore Dr Richard Carr's work
View of the bottom halves of two people sitting at a table, one with a prosthetic leg

Helping military families thrive

Explore Prof Matt Fossey and his team's work
A group of people doing Tai Chi outside on some grass

Improving health of homeless through exercise

Explore Prof Lee Smith's work on homeless people's health
An office worker at a standing desk

Improving health through reducing sitting time

Explore Prof Lee Smith's work on reducing sitting time
Emanuele Giovannetti speaking at the ITU, with two people either side of him on the panel and the backs of five audience members

Influencing innovation in digital telecommunications

Explore Prof Emanuele Giovannetti's work
A map of the world represented by illuminated digital connections in green and gold, with a focus on Africa

Influencing policy development across the digital divide

Explore Prof Rohan Kariyawasam's work
Someone working on a laptop at a kitchen table while on the phone, while cuddling a child, with another child next to them.

Making higher education inclusive for carers

Explore Prof Marie-Pierre Moreau's work
Bus driving along a flooded city street

Raising awareness of water systems resilience

Explore Dr Maryam Astaraie-Imani and her team's work
A row of stone almshouses fronted by flowerbeds, grass and a bench

Raising the profile of almshouses as social housing

Explore Dr Federica Pascale and Dr Alison Pooley's work
A hand holding a sieve containing microplastics above the sea shore

Reducing the environmental impact of single-use plastics

Explore Dr Dannielle Green and her team's work
Smoke coming into a bedroom though an ajar door with the glow of flames behind it

Reducing the fire risk from emollient-impregnated fabrics

Explore Dr Sarah Hall and Jo Morrissey's work
A person looking at their phone while charging an electric car near a large structure of solar panels

Shaping EU energy research and innovation funding

Explore Chris Foulds and his team's work
Four books written by Martin Salisbury

Widening understanding of authorial practice in illustration

Explore Prof Martin Salisbury's work
Illustration from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland showing Alice, the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter at a tea party

Wonderlands old and new: celebrating Lewis Carroll's Alice

Explore Prof Eugene Giddens's work
Join our research community: explore postgraduate research programmes at ARU

Get in touch

Contact us if you would like to learn more about our REF results, collaborate with us on research or access our expertise to support your business.

Our submissions to REF2021 were developed in accordance with our Code of Practice (PDF).

View ARU's results in full on the REF2021 website