Research impact: World-leading research across LJMU

Impact case studies

Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) has more than doubled the amount of research that is judged to be world-leading or internationally-excellent by the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), and a key element of our work relates to the impact of research outside of academia.

  • We have world-leading research in all 16 Units of Assessment (UoA) from across the university.
  • 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 49 out of 129 Higher Education Institutions in the UK for research power.

Our portfolio of impact case studies showcase excellent work with our local Liverpool communities through to partnerships with multinational global organisations.

The case studies below formed our submission to the 2021 REF and we invite you to explore the summaries below or visit the REF2021 website to view them in full detail.

Faq Items

Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy

Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management

Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences



Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism

Computer Science and Informatics


Architecture, Built Environment and Planning

Business and Management Studies

Social Work and Social Policy


English Language and Literature


Art and Design: History, Practice, Theory

What is the REF?

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is carried out approximately every 6 to 7 years to:

  • assess the quality of research across UK universities
  • show the quality and output of research on a domestic and global stage
  • show the impact research has on the academic environment and our society, and highlight its real-world benefits

The REF is jointly conducted by the four UK higher education funding bodies:

  • Research England (RE)
  • Scottish Funding Council (SFC)
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)
  • Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE)

It is also managed by the REF team, based at Research England, and a steering group from the four funding bodies.

Why is it done?

The four UK higher education funding bodies use the REF to inform the allocation of around £2 billion of research funding per year. The thoroughness of the exercise is designed to provide accountability for public investment in research, demonstrating its benefits and impact. REF is also used by HE institutions for:

  • benchmarking and establishing reputational yardsticks with peer institutions and departments
  • understanding institutional strengths for external communications
  • informing strategic university decisions
  • understanding larger sector-wide trends
  • attracting researchers and postgraduate students
  • learning more about a university or department you might want to work with
  • securing further funding

Lessons learned from the current exercise will inform the Future Research Assessment Programme (FRAP), which is exploring possible future approaches to the assessment of UK higher education research performance, including through dialogue with the HE sector.