BU’s REF2021 submission

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK's system for assessing the quality of research in UK universities. 

In the REF 2021 assessment exercise, 94% of BU research was found to be internationally-recognised or above, with 19% found to be world-leading in quality. This reflects our commitment to research as part of our BU2025 strategy, providing an inclusive and supportive environment for research to flourish, and ensuring research activity supports our engagement with industry and practice and informs education. 

Research that enriches society and makes a difference is at the heart of our values and the results acknowledge the positive impact of our research on the world around us - from helping people to live better for longer to challenging marginalisation and under-representation, protecting our environment, recovering from crisis, and helping creative industries and cultural heritage to thrive. 95.7% of our research was found to be delivering considerable impact or above, with 31.5% achieving an outstanding impact score.  

Our submission also represents a substantial increase in research breadth and volume. We submitted to 13 Units of Assessment (UOAs) for REF 2021, compared with eight in REF 2014. We are particularly proud that the number of staff submitted to REF 2021 has more than tripled compared to REF 2014, reflecting our inclusive approach. 

According to analysis of the REF 2021 results by the Times Higher Education, BU is in the top third of UK institutions for research power, with a ranking of 51st out of the 157 UK institutions who participated in REF 2021. Research power is calculated by multiplying the Grade Point Average (a measure of the average quality of the submission) by the total number of full-time equivalent staff submitted. This takes into account the scale of the submission, as well as the quality.  

Advancing knowledge is a vital element of our purpose and part of our wider contribution to society, and the REF 2021 results cement our position as an emerging research power with real-world impact. 

Find out more about our submission below. You can also view the full submission and results on the REF website

BU's REF 2021 submission in numbers:

research outputs
impact case studies
Units of Assessment

Listen to our REF 2021 podcast:

Hear from BU's Vice-Chancellor Professor John Vinney as he discusses the results of the REF 2021, speaking with staff members who supported BU's submission and helping to understand what the results mean for BU. 

For REF 2021, BU made a submission to the following Units of Assessment:​

Code of practice

As part of the REF 2021 exercise, each university must develop a Code of Practice which outlines how they will identify which staff have responsibility for research, who is classed as an independent researcher and how outputs will be selected for submission.

BU's Code of Practice was accepted by Research England November 2019. In October 2020, the Code of Practice was revised to to accommodate national changes to the REF exercise. It can be downloaded here.

Privacy statement

The Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR require institutions to inform their staff and other stakeholders as to how data about them that are submitted to the REF will be used. Links to this information can be found below. 

For staff: This applies to current staff of Bournemouth University (BU) and to former BU staff of BU where we have included you in our REF submission in relation to outputs produced during your time at BU. It can be downloaded in full here.

For members of the public: Bournemouth University (BU) may be including some information about you in our submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. It can be downloaded in full here