The 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results published today show that the majority of research submitted by St Mary’s University, Twickenham is 4* World Leading or 3* Internationally Excellent in its originality, significance, and rigour.
St Mary’s has more than doubled its research rated by the REF in the top two three- and four-star classifications as compared to the previous research exercise in 2014. St Mary’s also increased the number of eligible staff who submitted research in the REF by almost 30%. In most submitted units, St Mary’s research environment shifted from having International Recognition in 2014 to being considered as Internationally Excellent, with some areas also recognised as World-Leading.
I am delighted with the findings of the 2021 edition of the Research Excellence Framework. Our research teams work tirelessly to push the bounds of knowledge and best practice within an interdisciplinary research culture.
Anthony McClaran, Vice-Chancellor
The REF is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It judges higher education institutions based on the quality of their research output, impact, and academic environment. Ratings are from 4* (World Leading) to 0* (Unclassified). The 2021 edition of the REF evaluated St Mary’s research across four academic groupings:
- Theology and Religious Studies
- Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure, and Tourism
- English Language and Literature
- Social Work and Social Policy
87% of Research in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure, and Tourism at St Mary’s was rated as World Leading or Internationally Excellent, with 100% of impact case studies rated in the top two categories. The assessment of the research environment in this unit was found to be 75% in the Internationally Excellent rating.
“These results are testament to the amazing work of our academic teams at St Mary’s and recognises the strong research ethos of St Mary’s, which we will continue to build upon and evolve our research culture.
Professor Symeon Dagkas, Provost
World Leading outputs in Theology and Religious Studies were found to have more than trebled from 2014 with 28.6% rated at this level in 2021. The impact of 75% of research in this area was also rated in the top two categories. The English Language and Literature research unit, which also included submissions from History and Communications, saw a 50% increase on its ratings from 2014, with all outputs Internationally Recognised and 71% of research rated World Leading or Internationally Excellent.
In the new Social Work and Social Policy category, St Mary’s made an interdisciplinary submission with research from academics in Law, Criminology, Education, Psychology and Business. 100% of research in this category achieved International Recognition for its impact and 50% of outputs being rated as World Leading or Internationally Excellent.
Speaking of the findings, St Mary’s Vice-Chancellor, Anthony McClaran said, “I am delighted with the findings of the 2021 edition of the Research Excellence Framework. Our research teams work tirelessly to push the bounds of knowledge and best practice within an interdisciplinary research culture. These findings are a strong endorsement of all they are doing to contribute to the common good locally, nationally, and globally in line with our Catholic mission.
“We are proud of the world leading researchers based here at St Mary’s, who work on projects as diverse as studying how blood flow restriction training can help elite athletes and clinical populations rehabilitate from injury, to helping law enforcement agencies identify and support victims of Human Trafficking, or working with national regulators to find innovative new solutions to tackle mental health issues at universities amongst first generation students. I look forward to seeing our research culture continue developing in the years to come.”
St Mary’s Provost, Professor Symeon Dagkas, added, “These results are testament to the amazing work of our academic teams at St Mary’s and recognises the strong research ethos of St Mary’s, which we will continue to build upon and evolve our research culture. These excellent results will attract staff and students interested in pursuing their research with us here at St Mary’s.”