What does Impact mean?

What does Impact mean?

Impact was introduced to the REF as a means to assess the effect on, change or benefit from research beyond academia. Impact case studies describe  how research, conducted during a specific time-frame at a named institution, resulted in a change, had an effect on or benefited culture, the economy, the environment, health, public policy, quality of life or society using qualitative and quantitative evidence.

The case study needs to demonstrate:

  1. Summary of the impact
  2. A description of the underpinning research
  3. References to the research
  4. Details of the impact
  5. Sources to corroborate the impact

What do the star ratings mean?

Each Unit of Assessment submission including supporting Impact Case Studies are reviewed by an independent panel of UK and International experts. Each panel member will review the submissions according to a set of assessment criteria and level definitions.

For each submission, three distinct elements are assessed: the quality of outputs (e.g. publications, performances, and exhibitions), their impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research.

The Results Table captures the overall quality profile, namely percentage of research activity at each quality level.

What is evaluated?

What is evaluated?

The REF panel will look at 3 areas which are weighted and inform the overall score for the University or the Unit of Assessment.

  • Outputs - The panel review the quality of the outputs including their academic rigour.
  • Impact - The panel review the direct impact of the outputs or research activity.
  • Environment - The panel review the quality of the infrastructure and environment that supported the researchers.

Overall Star Ratings Explained

  • 4 Star 

    Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour

  • 3 Star 

    Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence.

  • 2 Star 

    Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

  • 1 Star 

    Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

  • Unclassified

    Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work. Or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of this assessment.