Skip navigation to content

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results

REF 2014 montage of images

Across Science and the Arts, the University of St Andrews has emerged as top in Scotland and 14th* in the UK for the quality of its research publications across Science, the Arts, Divinity and Medicine, according to the results of the 2014 UK Research Assessment Exercise published on 18 December 2014. St Andrews was ranked 2nd in Scotland and 19th* in the UK for overall research performance, assessed by quality of publications, impact and the environment in which research takes place. St Andrews is one of the UK’s most research-intensive universities. Over 80% of the university’s research active staff had their work assessed by REF 2014.

The general quality of research carried out at St Andrews has improved since 2008. The Grade Point Average of St Andrews’ overall research performance grew from 2.72 in 2008 to 3.13 in 2014, significantly above the UK sector average GPA of 3.03.

The impact of St Andrews’ research is felt worldwide. REF 2014 is the first research analysis to attempt to measure the impact of universities’ research as an element of overall research strength. St Andrews outperformed the UK sector on research impact, despite its comparatively small size and distance from major urban centres.

The full REF2014 results

Highlights

UoASubject% 4*
Overall
% 4*/3*
Overall
GPAUK rankingPosition in Scotland
 31 Classics  37  92  3.29   2  Top in Scotland
  9 Physics  37  96  3.33   3  2nd in Scotland
 34 Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory  38  93  3.30   4  Top in Scotland
 17 Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology  42  83  3.24   5  Top in Scotland
 32 Philosophy  39  83  3.21   5  Top in Scotland
 29 English Language and Literature  54  86  3.40   6  Top in Scotland
  8 Chemistry  28  95  3.23  12  Top in Scotland
 30 History  43  80  3.23  12  Top in Scotland
 19 Business and Management Studies  38  78  3.14  13  2nd in Scotland
  4 Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience  46  84  3.29  15  2nd in Scotland

 

UoASubject% 4*
Outputs
% 4*/3*
Outputs
GPAUK rankingPosition in Scotland
  9 Physics  26.8  96.0  3.22   2  Top in Scotland
 31 Classics  30.4  87.0  3.17   2  Top in Scotland
 34 Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory  43.5  91.3  3.33   3  Top in Scotland
 29 English Language and Literature  41.9  79.1  3.21   8  2nd in Scotland
 18 Economics and Econometrics  23.5  82.4  3.06  10  2nd in Scotland
32 Philosophy  27.3  76.8  3.03  10  2nd in Scotland
 33 Theology and Religious Studies  28.0  62.0  2.90  11  Top in Scotland
  8 Chemistry  22.7  94.5  3.17  13  Top in Scotland
 19 Business and Management Studies  24.3  66.2  2.88  14  Top in Scotland
 11 Computer Science and Informatics  30.1  84.3  3.14  14  2nd in Scotland
  1 Clinical Medicine  25.4  76.3  2.98  14  2nd in Scotland
 30 History  36.6  69.7  3.06  21

 Top in Scotland

 

UoASubject% 4*
Impact
% 4*/3*
Impact
GPAUK rankingPosition in Scotland
 17 Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology  76.0  100.0  3.76   1  Top in Scotland
  5 Biological Sciences  90.0  100.0  3.90   2  Top in Scotland
 19

Business and Management Studies

 73.3  100.0  3.73   4  3rd in Scotland
 31 Classics  50.0  100.0  3.50   4  Top in Scotland
 29 English Language and Literature  90.0  100.0  3.90   5  Top in Scotland
 30 History  58.0  100.0  3.58   6  3rd in Scotland
 32 Philosophy  53.3    90.0  3.43   9  Top in Scotland
  9 Physics  46.4    92.7  3.39  11  3rd in Scotland
 10 Mathematical Sciences  40.0    90.0  3.30  15  2nd in Scotland

 

UoASubject% 4*
Environment
% 4*/3*
Environment
GPAUK rankingPosition in Scotland
  4 Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience  100.0  100.0  4.00   1  Top in Scotland
  9 Physics    70.0  100.0  3.70   3  Top in Scotland
 17 Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology    87.5  100.0  3.88   3  Top in Scotland
 31  Classics    50.0  100.0  3.50   4  Top in Scotland
 32  Philosophy    70.0  100.0  3.70   5  Top in Scotland
  8  Chemistry    50.0  100.0  3.50   9  Top in Scotland
 21  Politics and International Studies    50.0  100.0  3.50   9  2nd in Scotland
 30  History    50.0  100.0  3.50   11  2nd in Scotland
 19  Business and Management Studies    50.0  100.0  3.50   14  2nd in Scotland

 

 

 

Overall quality profile
(% of research activity at each quality level)
UoASubjectStaff4*3*2*1*U
 1  Clinical Medicine  16  17  53  22  8  0
 4  Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience  31  46  38  15  1  0
 5  Biological Sciences  54  33  51  15 1  0
 8  Chemistry  38  28  67  5  0  0
 9  Physics  39  37  59  4  0  0
 10  Mathematical Sciences  32  26  65  8  1 0
 11  Computer Science and Informatics  24  22  55  23  0  0
 17  Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology  39  42  41  16  1  0
 18  Economics and Econometrics  21  15  62  23  0  0
 19  Business and Management Studies  23  38  40  20  2  0
 21  Politics and International Studies  34  29  43  23 4  1
 24  Anthropology and Development Studies  15 11  54  26  9  0
 28  Modern Languages and Linguistics  33  13  60  26  0  1
 29  English Language and Literature  31  54  32  14  0  0
 30  History  41  43  37  20  0  0
 31  Classics  13  37  55  8  0  0
 32  Philosophy  30  39  44  16  1  0
 33  Theology and Religious Studies  14  31  31  38  0  0
 34  Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory  14  38  55  6  1  0
 35  Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts  10  27  53  20  0  0

*The ranking reflects mainstream and multifaculty institutions only.


Explanation of terminology

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The REF replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) as the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK  Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The REF is a process of expert review. Assessment panels used a standard scale to award a rating for each submission. Ratings range from 0 to 4, according to how much of the work is judged to reach national or international levels of excellence.

The REF provides benchmarks which are used by institutions in developing and managing their research strategies. Scottish HEIs receive a "Research Excellence Grant" (REG) as part of their annual block grant from the Scottish Funding Council based on the REF outcomes.

Submissions were assessed by an expert sub-panels, working under the guidance of four main panels, for each unit of assessment. Sub-panels applied a set of generic assessment criteria and level definitions, to produce an overall quality profile for each submission.

For more information see REF 2014.

UoA

Unit of Assessment. This column gives the reference number used to identify the REF Unit of Assessment.

Staff

The number of staff (H/C) submitted per Unit of Assessment.

GPA

Grade Point Average: a weighted average [(% at 4*×4)+(% at 3*×3)+(% at 2*×2)+(% at 1*×1)]

Quality levels

Four star: 4*

Overall: Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

Impact: Outstanding impacts in terms of their reach and significance.

Three star: 3*

Overall: Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence.

Impact: Very considerable impacts in terms of their reach and significance.

Two star: 2*

Overall: Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

Impact: Considerable impacts in terms of their reach and significance.

One star: 1*

Overall: Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

Impact: Recognised but modest impacts in terms of their reach and significance.

Unclassified: U 

Overall: 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.

Impact: The 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.