University of Sheffield celebrates impactful research

19 May 2022

The University of Sheffield has celebrated its pioneering research which is addressing some of the biggest global challenges and making a real-world impact.

The publication of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), a national assessment of the research taking place across UK universities, has classed 92 per cent of the University of Sheffield’s research as world-leading or internationally excellent. This reaffirms the institute's research excellence across a range of disciplines.

The framework assesses the quality of research, as well as the impact of that research beyond academia, measuring the benefits of innovative collaboration with business, industry, the public 

sector and civil society organisations which help to translate groundbreaking ideas into real-world solutions.

The Faculty of Engineering submitted two Units of Assessment to the REF 2021: Computer Science and Informatics, UoA11; and Engineering, UoA12, which comprised six faculty departments, the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Nuclear AMRC. The submission included the AMRC’s work with aerospace giant Boeing to increase in efficiency and productivity for the manufacturing of gear and actuator parts.

For Engineering (UoA12), the university was ranked 8th in the REF 2021 in terms of the quality of research. 96 per cent of the research is rated in the highest two categories in the REF 2021, meaning it is classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Ben Morgan, research director at the AMRC, said: “These results reaffirm the University of Sheffield’s standing in the world and underline the impact of our powerful collaborations. 

“Our industrial partners and the broader manufacturing sector want to work with the AMRC because of our proven track record in transitioning outstanding fundamental research into real-world applications and impact. By working alongside our colleagues at the Faculty of Engineering and other university departments, we can continue to deliver step changes in productivity, profitability and sustainability which is truly world leading.”

The REF results are used to inform the allocation of around £2 billion per year of public funding for universities’ research which aims to make a difference to people’s lives across the globe.

The framework assesses university research according to the quality of research outputs, such as journal articles, books and designs; the impact of research beyond academia, looking at the benefits of innovative collaboration with business, industry, the public sector and civil society organisations which help to translate groundbreaking ideas into real-world solutions; and the environment within universities that supports research.

Professor Sue Hartley, vice-president for research at the University of Sheffield, said: “I’m really proud that our REF results confirm that our research is making an impact, but I’m also excited about the future. 

“We’ve set ourselves an ambitious vision for our research to be world-leading and world-changing, to drive intellectual advances and address global challenges. 

“Together I would like us to build on from our REF results and continue to enable and actively promote a culture of research excellence across our community for the benefit of our University, our researchers and the wider world.” 

The University of Sheffield’s submission to the REF included 3,684 outputs, 114 impact case studies and 1,690 staff.

REF is a retrospective exercise looking back over seven years of ground breaking research achieved by leading researchers, and those that support the research environment. The REF is a milestone for inspiring future discoveries and continuing to make a difference to lives across the world.

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