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Leicester's clinical researchers gain national recognition

13 May 2022

Researchers and partners at the University of Leicester are celebrating making one of the biggest climbs of any UK university in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, published yesterday (Thursday 12 May).


Overall the University achieved a ranking of 30th, up 23 places from the previous REF in 2014, the University’s result represents its best-ever performance in a national research assessment exercise and recognises the world-changing impact and quality of the research which takes place at Leicester including world-leading medical research in partnership with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL).

The University’s Clinical Medicine research, in which UHL are a key partner, was named second out of 31 research-intensive universities, overtaking Oxford and bettered only by Cambridge University. Leicester is a world-leading centre in the study of cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and diabetes and generates millions of pounds of research funding every year.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “This inspiring performance is testament to the hard work and dedication of each and every member of Leicester’s research environment. I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate them for their role in this great achievement. Our REF results are validation of Leicester’s strong heritage in transformative, world-leading research and affirm our place as one of the UK’s top research-intensive universities.”

Andrew Furlong, Medical Director at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “This is fabulous news for the University of Leicester and also for our patients. Leicester’s Hospitals have a very strong research and training partnership with the University of Leicester which has gone from strength to strength.

“95% of research undertaken within Clinical Medicine at the University was considered to be world-leading or internationally recognised and many of these clinical researchers are working in the hospitals that serve our communities. This means our patients have opportunities to access cutting edge medical care and for people entering the medical profession it shows Leicester is a great place to work and develop your career as a clinical researcher.

Editor Notes

•        The REF 2021 covers the period 2014 to 2020 and, for the first time, included an assessment of all research output from each UK institution. 

•        A total of 157 UK universities were assessed on quality of their research outputs, impact case studies detailing the real-world benefits their research delivered, and evidence of how the research environment has supported researchers and their research application or impact. 

•        More than a quarter of Leicester’s 22 units of assessment are among the UK’s top five by overall score. Leicester’s overall research quality was 42% ‘world-leading’ and 47% ‘internationally excellent’ across all submitted areas of research activity.

•        You can read more about the assessment here: https://le.ac.uk/news/2022/may/ref-2021