REF 2021 results

The School of Earth Sciences has been ranked second in the country in the REF2021 results. Overall, 100% of our research was rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Of this, 67% was ranked as the highest 4* category. REF 2021 also assessed the impact of our research, meaning the benefit our research brings to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment, or quality of life. In the School of Earth Sciences, 100% of our impact case studies were also considered ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. REF 2021 also measured the quality of the environment supporting research and enabling outcome. Bristol’s academic environment was judged to be 100% ‘world leading’.

Reflecting on the results, Professor Rich Pancost commented:

"I am deeply impressed by the achievements of Earth and Environmental scientists across the UK. Working collaboratively, we have made some exhilarating discoveries while also co-producing solutions to some of society's most challenging problems - from climate change to disaster reduction to preserving our food, water, and soil security. Within that context, I am particularly proud of the achievements of my Bristol colleagues.  Although all research audits have limitations, our consistently strong performance in REF over the past two decades speaks to a thriving and collaborative research environment."

REF stands for Research Excellence Framework. It is the UK system for assessing the quality and impact of university research and the environment that supports researchers across all disciplines. In total 157 universities participated, submitting over 76,000 academic staff. It is a process of expert review, carried out by expert panels for each of the 34 subject-based units of assessment, including Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences.

Further information about REF and all the results can be viewed at

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