Kent celebrates outstanding REF 2021 results

Gary Hughes

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 has confirmed Kent as a leading research university, with the majority of our submissions rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). The University has also risen 11 places to 38 in the Times Higher Education’s (THE) ranking for overall research quality in the REF.

The University has eight subjects ranked by the THE in the top ten for research quality (Architecture; Classics; History; Law; Philosophy; Social Work and Social Policy; Theology; Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen studies), with a further seven subjects in the top 25 (Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Economics and Econometrics; English Language and Literature; Geography and Environmental Studies; and Modern Languages and Linguistics).

Long recognised as a university that engages with its external communities, stakeholders and the world beyond academia, Kent also has ten subjects in the sector’s top quartile for world-class (4*) impact. These are: Biological Sciences; Classics (maximum score); History (maximum score); Law; Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies (maximum score); Philosophy; Politics and International Studies; Social Work and Social Policy; Sport and Exercise Sciences; and Theology and Religious Studies (maximum score).

Responding to the University’s performance, Professor Shane Weller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, said: ‘We are extremely proud of our results. They clearly demonstrate that Kent continues to produce research that not only informs and underpins our teaching at all levels but also makes a very clear and significant difference to lives and livelihoods regionally, nationally and internationally.

‘I would like to thank all our academic and professional services staff who participated in REF 2021. These results testify to a strong communal culture and to the efforts of so many people, staff and students alike. They have a lot to celebrate, and I very much look forward to building on this remarkable success with them.’

For REF 2021, Kent summitted to 26 of the exercise’s 34 Units of Assessment, three more than in 2014. Across the submission, 1,688 research outputs were submitted from 830 Kent staff, along with 78 impact case studies. 100% of all eligible staff were submitted to the REF.

The impact of Kent’s research and researchers span the arts and humanities, sciences, and social sciences, with our recognised strengths in:

  • Creativity, Culture and Heritage
  • Cyber Security, Digital Technology and Communication
  • Health, Social Care and Wellbeing
  • Social Justice, Inequalities and Conflict
  • Sustainability, Environment and Natural Resources