The College of Arts recognised for world-leading research and impact

Published: 12 May 2022

The College of Arts has been recognised for its world-leading research and the positive impact it has on society by the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

The College of Arts has been recognised for its world-leading research and the positive impact it has on society by the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

The overall results for the University of Glasgow highlight our position as a world-changing university which produces research of global and national importance.

The University’s submission highlighted Glasgow’s commitment to making a difference beyond academia.

The University submitted 118 impact case studies, 28 of which came from Arts and Humanities, to expert panels, showcasing the University’s wide-ranging collaborations with external partners to deliver societal and economic impacts locally, nationally and globally.

Arts & Humanities at Glasgow is committed to sustaining a positive and nurturing research culture. This is reflected in the strong REF performance, with two-thirds of environment and impact being recognised as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'.

Researchers work closely with public, private and third sector partners across the creative, cultural and heritage industries, and education and policy arenas. These partnerships highlight the value of Arts & Humanities research in tackling economic and societal challenges in the modern world.

The 28 submitted impact case studies reflected engagement with civic institutions, public policy, social inclusion, public understanding, mental health and wellbeing, curation of cultural memory, creative arts, education, heritage conservation, cultural diversity and the profile of Gaelic.

Professor Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Arts, said:  “I am delighted with the College’s outstanding performance in REF 2021, with every UoA contributing significantly to an enhanced performance, both for the College and the wider University.

"I am incredibly proud and humbled by the excellent contribution made by my academic and professional services colleagues. It has been a remarkable team effort over many years that has produced the best ever performance for Arts and Humanities at the University of Glasgow. Mealamaid ar naidheachd ‘let us enjoy and celebrate our news’.”

The University of Glasgow has one of the broadest research bases in the UK with a wide range of disciplines reflected in its academic community.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor said “We are very pleased with these results which highlight Glasgow’s global outlook and the hard work and talent of our colleagues. We are committed to working with partners across the world to create high-quality research with real-world impact. Our strategies and investment will continue to reflect this ambition and commitment.

“The past two years have been particularly challenging for everyone, and this moment provides a timely opportunity for us all to reflect on our own institutions’ achievements – and indeed the significant progress that we have achieved together. I would like to extend my thanks and congratulations to colleagues at the University of Glasgow for all their efforts and many congratulations to our sister institutions across the UK on their results.”

Professor Chris Pearce, Vice-Principal for Research & Knowledge Exchange: “We are extremely proud of the quality of research we produce at Glasgow; research carried out with integrity and rigour. Our REF results reflect the culmination of years of work and the collective effort of our researchers, professional staff and partners. I would like to thank everyone involved in the research effort at Glasgow.”

The assessment results reflect Glasgow’s commitment to world-changing research, a commitment which has consistently been recognised through external esteem and funding.

Research Excellence Framework

The assessment process, the Research Excellence Framework (REF2021), was managed by the REF Team based at Research England on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies.

The REF assessment covered research conducted from 2000-20 and provides a detailed profile of research activity in universities and colleges in the UK. The assessment also examines the wider impacts of research, generated from mid-2013-2020. The REF is a recognised indicator of research quality, influencing student choice and the distribution of public funds for research.

Submissions are assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Four star: quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
  • Three star: quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence.
  • Two star: quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
  • One 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.

Impacts of research (presented via case studies) are assessed according to their reach and significance, as follows:

  • Four star: Outstanding impacts in terms of their reach and significance.
  • Three star: Very considerable impacts in terms of their reach and significance.
  • Two star: Considerable impacts in terms of their reach and significance.
  • One star: Recognised but modest impacts in terms of their reach and significance.
  • Unclassified: Impact is of little or no reach and significance; or the impact was not eligible; or the impact was not underpinned by excellent research produced by the submitted unit.

First published: 12 May 2022