REF2014 results: 4th in the UK

The world-leading quality of historical research at the University of Glasgow has been confirmed in the results of the Research Excellence Framework assessment (REF2014), the system for assessing the quality of research in the UK’s universities. Glasgow submitted the UK’s fifth-largest unit of historians for assessment in REF2014, and the collective quality of our research was ranked fourth in the UK. History at Glasgow has one of the best records for research impact and one of the best environments for historical research in the UK.

The ‘vitality and sustainability’ of Glasgow’s research environment for academic staff, researchers and postgraduates in History achieved a ranking of fifth in the UK. An impressive 70% of Glasgow’s research environment was judged to be ‘conducive to producing research of world-leading quality’ (the highest category).

A major new feature of the REF2014 research assessment process is the evaluation of the impact of academic research on heritage, society and economy. History at Glasgow demonstrated one of the greatest concentrations of high-impact research, achieving a ranking of fourth in the UK. Fully 66% of Glasgow’s impact was assessed as outstanding in terms of reach and significance (the highest category).

Key achievements of History at Glasgow

  • History at Glasgow was ranked equal fourth in the UK in terms of overall ‘research power’ (the overall quality rating of research outputs, environment and impact multiplied by the number of staff assessed). This is the internationally recognized determinant of research reputation, and will inform future funding by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council.
  • The impact of research by Glasgow’s historians outside and beyond academia was assessed to be fourth best in the UK, giving Glasgow a higher ranking than Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh universities.
  • The ‘research power’ rating of Glasgow’s research environment for academics, postdoctoral researchers and postdoctoral students ranked Glasgow fifth in the UK.
  • Research outputs (published books and articles) by Glasgow’s historians were ranked equal sixth in the UK in terms of ‘research power’.
  • The overall research excellence profile at Glasgow improved considerably since the last national assessment in 2008, rising by one-third to 80% at 4* and 3*. (Research that is world-leading is assessed as 4*, while research that is internationally excellent is assessed as 3*).
  • History at Glasgow was ranked the second best History unit in Scotland (with a GPA of 3.18), higher than the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Stirling and Dundee.