University of Dundee

Dundee ranked top University for Biological Sciences in REF 2021

12 May 2022

The results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) were announced today. Dundee is the top-ranking University for Biological Sciences research, a position we have maintained since the last REF exercise in 2014. The REF2021 assessment has scored SLS as having a total of 71% of its activities being ‘world leading’ (4*) and 28% of its activities being ‘internationally excellent’ (3*).

"This is a fantastic result which maintains the reputation of Life Sciences in Dundee as being at the forefront of UK research. Our grade point average is 3.7 out of a possible total of 4 – according to the Times Higher Education Supplement this ranks us second in UoA5 (Unit of Assessment, Biological Sciences) in the UK, with only the Institute of Cancer Research in London having a higher score and leaving us as the top-ranking university," said Professor Julian Blow, Dean of School. 

"I would like to emphasise that this success really does belong to all of us – academics, postdocs and research students, as well as all the professional services staff that support our many activities, including secretarial staff, laboratory managers, facilities staff, HR staff, finance staff, security, cleaning staff and everyone else who works in the School. The key importance of support staff in our fantastic REF result is demonstrated by the fact that for the Environment section, which assesses all the activities we provide to support our wonderful collegiate research atmosphere, we were assessed as having 100% 4* (world leading) activity." 

"I would also like to thank everyone who has directly contributed to the outstanding papers that we submitted and to those who contributed to the excellent impact case studies. This major success therefore clearly depends on all of your outstanding contributions. In addition, I would like to thank the team that put together the REF submission, which was led by Claire Halpin, Morag Martin and Louise Stanley, with support from Vicky Cowling, David Horn and myself."

Professor Claire Halpin, Associate Dean Research, said “It was a real privilege for us to work with the exceptional research stories from within the school to pull our REF submission together.  I am so proud of the quality and real-world impact of the school’s research, and of the supportive culture that enables this. I send my warmest congratulations to everyone in the school who has contributed to this fantastic collective success.”

REF is a comprehensive research assessment that takes place every 6-7 years which assesses the research performance of UK universities under the three headings of Outputs, Impact and Environment. Full details can be found on the REF website.