REF 2021: World-leading research across LJMU



Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) has more than doubled the amount of research that is judged to be world-leading or internationally-excellent by a national audit of UK universities.

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More than 600 LJMU researchers – 52% of academic staff – were judged on the quality of their scholarship in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

Of a total of 1,449 research studies assessed, nearly three-quarters (73.1%) were classified as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’.

Research not only creates new knowledge, products and data for wider society and the economy but underpins the quality and relevance of teaching in higher education.

Research at LJMU ranges from the development of an incubator which stimulates brain growth in babies, a project to support suicidal males and a laboratory to reconstruct faces for police and historical investigations.  

Inclusive culture

“Our aim is to demonstrate the highest quality research and research-informed teaching across the institution, so we were delighted to include more than 600 academic staff in the exercise,” explained Professor Keith George, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange.

“LJMU prides itself on its inclusivity, so the more academic staff are involved in research at the top table the better for them, their students and the contribution of this university to the Liverpool City Region and wider society.”

The results show a jump in quality from the last REF in 2014 when LJMU achieved 66.1% of research in the top two categories. But of more significance is the breadth of high-quality work: just 242 academics were submitted in that previous assessment.

The sheer volume and breadth of quality research underway has pushed LJMU up to 49th of all UK universities in the 'research power' rankings.

“We are rapidly growing our research culture into areas which are traditionally associated with teaching,” added Professor George. “We are particularly proud that Business and Law entered the REF for the first time and demonstrated examples of world-leading research.”

Astrophysics, Engineering and English

Among top performing areas were Astrophysics, where 96.9% of research was world-leading or internationally-excellent; Sport and Exercise Sciences, with 96.2%, Engineering with 95.8% and English with 86.2%.

LJMU Vice-Chancellor Mark Power said: “These results evidence our growing strength in research and the impact we are having both on our city and our students' education.

“They are a vibrant reflection of the excellent work that happens on our campus and I am extremely proud of our academics for the work which has been judged so highly and for the support provided by academic and professional services colleagues across LJMU. These outstanding outcomes would not be possible without a whole university approach. 

“With examples of world-leading research in every part of our university, and an ambition to focus and grow results in newer areas, this is a strong confirmation that LJMU offers the very best opportunities for our staff, students, partners and communities.”

See our full results and more detail about LJMU Research on our Research Impact Hub pages.

Key outcomes from REF 2021 for LJMU

  • All UoAs have demonstrated an increase in the volume of world-leading research outputs from REF2014 to REF2021.
  • 97.1% of the research environment at LJMU is rated from internationally-recognised to world-leading.
  • LJMU is ranked 49th out of 129 Higher Education Institutions in the UK for 'research power.
  • We have world-leading research in all 16 Units of Assessment (UoA) from across the university: Allied Health, Dentistry, Nursing & Pharmacy; Art & Design; Architecture, Built Environment & Planning; Business & Management; Communication, Cultural & Media Studies; Computer Science & Informatics; Earth Systems & Environmental Sciences; Education: Engineering; English; History; Law; Physics: Psychology, Psychiatry & Neuroscience; Social Work & Social Policy; Sport & Exercise Sciences, Leisure & Tourism.

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