REF 2021: Over 90% of Loughborough’s research is ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’

The results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) show that 91% of Loughborough University’s research is now ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. The REF is the system through which the quality of research in UK universities is assessed.

The university has been one of the highest risers in the results table with the quality of research impact being especially noteworthy. Here, 94% of Loughborough’s research impact is rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ which is a testament to the importance of our partnership activities.

Loughborough University’s London campus played a key role in Loughborough’s submission to the REF, contributing to six of the ‘units of assessment’. Particular highlights were the results in Sport and Exercise Science as well as Communications and Media, both ranking in the top 10 nationally. The school has also seen positive results in Art and Design, Business and Management Studies, Engineering and Politics and International Studies. The assessment of the ‘research environment’ confirms that the research culture has improved compared with the 2014 results through the establishment and growth of the London campus.

Speaking about the results, Professor Aidan McGarry, the Associate Dean for Research, said: "the REF results are fantastic and demonstrate the world-leading research which is being done by colleagues in London". The Dean of Loughborough London, Professor Tony Edwards, commented: "These results confirm the upward trajectory on which the university is on and the important role that the London campus is playing in this process".

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 8th in The UK Complete University Guide 2020.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Specialising exclusively in postgraduate-level study, Loughborough University London is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers cutting-edge master’s and PhD degrees, as well as business collaboration, research and enterprise opportunities.

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.