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Research

Research Excellence Framework

The REF is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

It is a process of review, carried out by expert panels for each of the 34 subject-based units of assessment. The panels consist of senior academics, international members, and individuals from outside academia with relevant skills and experience in using research.

For each submission, three distinct elements are assessed:

  • the quality of outputs (for example publications, performances, and exhibitions)
  • their impact beyond academia
  • the environment that supports research

How did we do in REF 2014?


In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), 90% of Queen Mary’s research impact across the disciplines was of 4 star (outstanding) or 3 star (very considerable) quality in terms of reach and significance.

You can find REF 2014 impact case studies in the REF 2014 impact case study database.

REF 2021

We are committed to achieving an excellent outcome in REF 2021. Our Strategy 2030 outlines how we aim to produce world-leading research outputs and ensure that research development, innovation, enterprise and social impact are embedded in all our research activities.

REF 2021 was postponed due to the impact of COVID-19. The revised deadline for submissions is now 31 March 2021. Explore the REF 2021 website for up-to-date information and deadlines.

Postgraduate students in a lab

Postgraduate students in a laboratory

Researchers submitting to REF2021

Staff members who will be submitting to REF 2021 can find guidance on submissions on the University’s Intranet. You can also find out more if you have any concerns about your circumstances with regard to your ability to conduct and submit your research.

For timetables, deadlines templates and FAQs, learn more at the impact preparations page.

Privacy policies

For more information on how Queen Mary will treat information in the REF 2021 submission process, please read: