Leeds Arts University achieves significant milestone by receiving the results of REF2021

12 May 2022

Leeds Arts University has received the results of REF2021, with the majority of its research being regarded as international, internationally excellent or world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

This is the first time Leeds Arts University has submitted to the REF since gaining full university title in 2017. The University submitted all HE teaching staff on a teaching and research contract (above a 0.2 contract) to the REF rather than just those staff with significant responsibility for research. This demonstrates commitment to the evolution and development of the University as a specialist institution for practice-based research in the arts.

Submissions were made to two units of assessment, Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory; and Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies. Eight impact case studies were submitted, on a range of topics from workshops exploring the tactile and aesthetic qualities of writing, to the effects of digital technologies on the perpetuation, dissemination and development of blues music and blues culture.

As a specialist arts University with an emerging research culture, we celebrate the outcome of our REF2021 submission. We are proud to have received quality ratings across all levels: from quality that is recognised nationally (1*) to quality that is world-leading (4*) in terms of originality, significance and rigour. We are in particular delighted that the developmental research environment at the University has been recognised as international.

The results provide us with an independent assessment and important baseline of research quality which we will use to inform our future strategy for research as we mature as a University and work to increase the quality and impact of our research.

Professor Randall Whittaker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Academic said:

“This was the first time Leeds Arts University submitted to the REF. The results underline the quality of the practice-based research undertaken here across our subject areas. The REF results have provided us with an independent confirmation about the impact of the University's practice-based research nationally and internationally. Supporting staff in preparation of the submission has been a whole University effort. Thank you to the entire University community for this significant achievement.”

Professor Simone Wonnacott, Vice Chancellor said:

“We are immensely proud of the achievement of all staff involved in our submission to REF2021. Being recognised for the quality of our research is an important step in our journey since becoming a University in 2017, and is a testament to the ambition and dedication of our staff. Research forms an important part of teaching and learning at the University and continues to have a positive impact on students, informing teaching across our undergraduate and postgraduate courses.”

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

The REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies: Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE).

The funding bodies aim to secure the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within UK higher education.