Publish date: 12 May 2022

Our academic partner UCL has been ranked number one in the UK in medicine, health and the life sciences for the quality of its research.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is carried out approximately every six to seven years to assess the quality of research across 157 UK universities and to share how this research benefits society both in the UK and globally.

93% of all research at UCL was graded 4* meaning ‘world leading’ or 3* meaning ‘internationally excellent’ as part of REF 2021. UCL received a ‘grade point average’ of 3.50 out of 4 – an improvement from 3.22 in 2014.

UCL came top in the main panels of ‘medicine, health and life sciences’ as well as ‘social sciences’. UCL was top in these areas in 2014.

A large proportion of the research output of UCL is in clinical research. A close partnership between UCLH and UCL is underpinned by the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at UCLH and UCL.

Across all disciplines, UCL came second in the UK for research power. Oxford were first with Cambridge third, Edinburgh fourth and Manchester fifth.

REF results are significant for benchmarking research excellence across UK institutions and are used by the four UK higher education funding bodies to inform the allocation of around £2billion of public investment in research every year.

They are based on three things: the quality of outputs (including publications), impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research.

UCLH Chief Executive David Probert said: “Congratulations to everyone at UCL for these outstanding results. It is fantastic to see this continued recognition for world-class research that makes a huge impact in the real world. I am proud of the research partnership UCLH has with UCL. Every day our patients benefit from this research, which transforms and saves lives.”

In addition to his role at UCLH, David is Honorary Professor at UCL Global Business School for Health.

Dr Michael Spence, UCL President & Provost, said: “This is an incredibly impressive outcome that everyone in our community can feel really proud of. It reflects dedication and hard work, inspired thinking, proactive collaboration, and a huge appetite to explore, discover, and create benefit. The result is that we are not only delivering research of an exceptionally high quality but also using it to make a real, tangible difference to lives and societies worldwide.”

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement), said: “My congratulations and thanks to everyone who played a part in achieving these results, both members of the research community and those thousands of professional staff who support them. This includes everyone who has played a role in the development and dissemination of original, significant and rigorous research outputs, the delivery of public benefit through research-informed impact with reach and significance, and in the formation of vital and sustainable research environments.