Research Excellence Framework

Manchester was confirmed as one of the leading centres for Social Science research in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF2014).

The School of Social Science submitted to five Units of Assessment in Economics and Econometrics; Politics and International Studies; Sociology; Anthropology and Development Studies; and Philosophy. In each of these units REF2014 assesses research performance in three areas of activity which are then combined to give an overall assessment of research quality:

  • Outputs
  • Environment
  • Impact (how research has made a difference in the real world)

Outputs, environment and overall research activity are graded as either world leading (4*), internationally excellent (3*), internationally recognised (2*) or nationally recognised (1*). For research impact the grade descriptors are outstanding (4*), very considerable (3*), considerable (2*) or modest (1*).

Our results

The results of REF2014 show that Social Science research at Manchester is ranked 3rd in the UK, based on research power (calculated by Grade Point Average (GPA) times number of staff submitted or by 4*/3* times number of staff submitted), with:

  • 78% of our research activity judged as ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*)

Of particular note:

  • 69% of our research outputs (papers and citations etc) judged to be ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*)
  • 93% of the impact documented in our case studies and statements classified as ‘outstanding’ (4*) or ‘very considerable’ (3*), in terms of its reach and significance
  • every aspect of our research environment considered to be ‘world-leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*)

Sociology (including Social Statistics) is 1st in the UK, based on the percentage of overall research activity that is world leading (4*), and 2nd based on research power.

Social Anthropology is also ranked 2nd, based on GPA (within the combined Anthropology and Development Studies assessment panel), but is now 1st among Social Anthropology Departments.

Both Economics and Politics were ranked in the top 10 for Research Power.

In REF2014 (Economics and Econometrics) Manchester Economics was ranked 7th out of 28 Economics departments in terms of research power (Grade Point Average multiplied by FTE).

Overall, 75% of our activity was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent (achieving a 4* or 3*). This includes:

  • 64.9% of outputs rated 4*/3*
  • 90% of impact rated 4*/3*
  • 100% of environment rated 4*/3*

Further information

The REF2014 results confirm Manchester's place as one of only a handful of the UK's leading research universities across a wide range of subjects. Learn more.