Ref 2014 News

Ulster University’s world-leading research recognised for its global impact.

Ulster University’s world-leading research recognised for its global impact

International experts have judged Ulster University as being in the top 25% of UK universities for world-leading research, based on research power.

This reinforces our leadership and delivery of research that is making a tangible impact in society and economies both locally and globally.


Hugh McKenna, PVC Research and Innovation at Ulster University

Hugh McKenna, PVC Research and Innovation at Ulster University

“The Research Excellence Framework is the process used to assess the quality, impact, significance and volume of research carried out by 154 UK universities.  Previously known as the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), this was last conducted in 2008.

Ulster University’s position as a centre of excellence has been confirmed and enhanced by these 2014 REF results.  The university has almost doubled its 4 star rated world-leading rankings from 2008 and been assessed as having world- leading research in all areas of the research submitted for assessment.

The REF evaluation identified Ulster University as ranked:

  • one of the top five universities in the UK for world-leading research in law, biomedical sciences, nursing and art and design
  • in the top 10 UK-wide for built environment, biomedical sciences, law, art and design and nursing research
  • top in Northern Ireland for research in biomedical sciences, law, business and management, architecture and build environment, art and design, social policy, sport, media studies and nursing.
  • first in the UK for  outstanding impact in law and joint first in the UK for outstanding and very  considerable impact in education research
  • second in the UK for Celtic studies research.

44% of our research has demonstrated world-leading impact and this places Ulster University top in Northern Ireland.

These results demonstrate our influence, the relevance of our research informed teaching and our impact in areas as diverse as health, the economy, the creative industries and social policy.

Ulster University has been assessed as being one of only six universities in the UK with 100% of its research environment rated as world leading.

This entirely reflects the quality, commitment and leadership of our research staff and students, our investment in research, the strength of our partnerships and collaborations and our worldwide contribution.”