Edge Hill University performed strongly in the national Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, with all subject areas submitted featuring ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’ research. The University made submissions to twelve units of assessment, doubling the number submitted to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
The growth in research is also reflected in the 225% increase in the volume of academic staff submitting research to the REF relative to the RAE.
The significant growth of Edge Hill’s research profile is reflected in the results, which demonstrated improved grades in all areas leading to Edge Hill being identified as the biggest improver in The Times’ table (+33 places).
As a result of this improved performance, Edge Hill University has received the highest percentage increase in research funding in the sector – with an increase of 355.3%. This growth in research and research income comes in the wake of the University being named both University of the Year 2014-15 and Best University Workplace by Times Higher Education.
Professor George Talbot, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Edge Hill University said:
“This funding is a way-stage in our 10-year strategy which I am very confident will deliver a five-fold increase in successful PhD completions by REF 2020, stronger scores for the three categories (of Outputs, Impact and Environment) and a greater intensity of performance. We are especially pleased to have recorded 4* impact case studies in Education, Health, Media and Sport considering we are a young University with a short history of research activity in many of our disciplines.”
REF Code of Practice
As part of its preparations for the REF 2014, Edge Hill was required to produce a Code of Practice to ensure that decisions about who was submitted to the REF were made in a way that was transparent and objective, and complied with equalities legislation. The University was committed to ensuring that no-one who met its eligibility criteria was excluded from the REF 2014 submission and that recognition was given to those members of staff whose ability to produce research outputs had been affected by individual circumstances.
Equalities Impact Assessment
A further requirement of the REF 2014 was the production of an Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA) to assess the differential impact of ‘protected characteristics’ on staff members’ ability to participate in the REF and whether the University’s REF Code of Practice created barriers to participation.
In addition to the data contained within the EIA, the following tables summarise Edge Hill University’s REF 2014 submission (click each table to view in a new window).
Furthermore, HEFCE has released a summary of submissions data for the sector as a whole.
Table 3: Edge Hill University staff submitted to REF 2014 by panel vs sector
Table 4: Edge Hill University outputs submitted to REF 2014 by type and panel vs sector
REF 2014 UoAs
Of the thirty-six REF 2014 units of assessment (UoAs) available, Edge Hill University submitted to the following twelve.
Stories on the research that underpinned Edge Hill’s REF impact case studies can be found here.
UoA A3: Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing & Pharmacy
Research in the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care is led by the Evidence-based Practice Research Centre, with the overall aim of informing the evidence base of professional practice through a) supporting care, and b) improving professional practice through education.
Research interests include nursing and midwifery, paramedic practice, operating practice, and applied health and social care. The Postgraduate Medical Institute (PGMI) brings together researchers from across the University and a wide range of NHS clinical partners with the aim of improving the quality of health and social care in North West England through education, research and innovation
UoA A4: Psychology, Psychiatry & Neuroscience
Based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, approximately three quarters of the staff submitted to this UoA were early career researchers (ECRs), reflecting the fact that the Psychology department is relatively new (having previously been part of a larger social sciences entity). Research interests include Cognitive Science Research and Health and Social Issues Research, such as memory and memory development, substance use and misuse, human communication, and prejudice.
UoA B11: Computer Science & Informatics
Based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, this was the smallest of Edge Hill’s UoAs and crossed many of the core disciplines of computing via three research groups: Data Analysis and Representation, Distributed and Creative Technologies, and Computer Assisted Teaching and Learning.
Although there was no return to RAE 2008, the Computing department had planned its research with REF 2014 in mind.
UoA C17: Geography, Environmental Studies & Archaeology
Based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, based in the departments of Geography and Biology, environmental research at Edge Hill spans biodiversity, conservation, paleoclimatology, geomorphology, environmental change, coastal processes, carbon biogeochemistry, atmospheric pollution and taxonomy. This work has relevance to local and national policy makers, conservation groups, environmental agencies and environmentally aware members of the public. The two departments house a research group each: the Environmental Processes and Change Group and the Ecology Research Group respectively.
Approximately half of the staff in this UoA were early career researchers (ECRs).
UoA C20: Law
Based in the Department of Law and Criminology within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, this UoA’s research is focussed on three research groups: the Criminology Research Group, the Legal Research Group and the Centre for Sports Law Research.
UoA C22: Social Work & Social Policy
With researchers based across both the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Faculty of Health and Social Care, this UoA comprises the two research groups of Children, Young People and Social Change and Social Justice, Rights and Social Change as well as the Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice (I4P), all of which seek to inform debates around policy and practice.
This UoA accounted for the largest proportion of Edge Hill’s submitted staff.
UoA C25: Education
The Faculty of Education, undertakes research on literacy and reading development, special educational needs and disability, the wider school workforce, gender, social class and widening opportunities. Research is conducted across three research centres: Centre for Learner Identity Studies, Schools, Colleges and Teacher Education, and Centre for Literacy and Numeracy Research.
UoA C26: Sport & Exercise Sciences, Leisure & Tourism
Based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the two research groups of Social Science of Sport and Sports Performance focus upon the production of user-led, theoretically-informed empirical research in fatigue, performance and nutrition, youth welfare and development, coaching, regulation, and the effects of these on policy and practice.
UoA D29: English Language & Literature
Based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the UoA was part of the Department of English and History and conducts research in a diverse range of fields including creative writing, literary and cultural criticism, and linguistic analysis, across disciplines such as film studies, history, media and the social sciences. The UoA comprises research groups in Romanticism at Edge Hill, Ethnicity, Race and Racism, Gender and Sexuality, Narrative Research, and Poetry and Poetics.
UoA D30: History::
Based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the UoA was part of the Department of English and History and has a long-standing and dynamic research culture with strengths in Social History and the politics of ‘race’ , the nation-state in Europe, North America, Britain, and the British Empire, with particular reference to the Middle East. Two research groups are based in this UoA: the Barack Obama Research Network and the Ethnicity, Race and Racism, the latter of which crosses over with the research in English.
UoA D35: Music, Drama, Dance & Performing Arts
Based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, research in the UoA clusters around four themes: Performance and Communities, Performance and Health, Performance Studies, and Performance and Technologies, leading to the formation of two research groups: Performance and Civic Futures, and Arts and Well-being. The research takes various forms including critical and creative texts, peer reviewed print, periodicals, critical fora, and practice-as-research.
UoA D36: Communication, Cultural & Media Studies, Library & Information Management
Based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Media research clusters around the three research groups of Media Industries and Policy, Transnational Film, Television and Media: Texts, Identities, and Audiences, and Digital and Creative Practice as Research, as well as the Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE). The research in this UoA endeavours to understand the role that the media play in shaping our perceptions of society, history and culture; in forging individual, collective, national and transnational identities; and in mediating the direction and character of social change in our regional settings.