University of Nottingham’s research capabilities recognised by Research Excellence Framework

01 June 2022

The University of Nottingham’s reputation for transformational research that improves the lives of millions of people around the globe has been recognised by the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF2021).

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The REF is the UK national government system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It is undertaken by the UK’s national higher education funding agency and provides a robust and thorough assessment of the quality of universities’ research in all disciplines.

According to Times Higher Education’s analysis of the REF results, the University is placed 7th in the UK for REF2021’s measure of Research Power, which takes into account a combination of the quality of research, international impact, critical mass and sustainability. 90% of the University of Nottingham’s research is classed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, and 100% is recognised internationally.

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Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham Professor Shearer West said: “Nottingham has often been recognised for the breadth of its research: to achieve quality across such a range of disciplines is a reflection of the talent, imagination and dedication of colleagues across the institution. However, I am especially proud of the positive impact that our research has had on people throughout the world. This is a testament to the determination of our researchers to make a difference to people’s lives.”

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Professor Patrick Chau, Vice Provost for Research and Knowledge Exchange, University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC)

According to Professor Patrick Chau, the Vice Provost for Research and Knowledge Exchange of the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC), REF’s recognition for the University of Nottingham’s research power is encouraging for UNNC’s research community as well, as UNNC is an integral part of the University of Nottingham’s global family.

“University of Nottingham is the biggest research collaborator for UNNC, accounting for 40% of UNNC’s co-publications.” Professor Patrick Chau said, “UNNC is a fast-growing hub for excellence in research, innovation and knowledge exchange. Driven by our collaboration with the Ningbo government and industry partners, we provide solutions to local challenges through world-class research and innovation.”

The REF result is a strong affirmation for the research excellence of the whole University of Nottingham global family and the UNNC as a member has led the way with its extensive research capabilities.

Empowered by a deep collaboration among the three campuses, UNNC’s research competence has grown dramatically over the past 18 years. With world-renowned academics, 10 of which are the world’s top 2% scientists and 12 are Highly Cited Chinese Researchers, the university has been leading research developments in key strategic areas to address the needs of local development and make an impact home and abroad. The quality of the research output is among the highest in China.

According to the SciVal platform, 44.5% of publications from UNNC in 2021 were published in the top 10% journals by CiteScore, and 70.8% of publications were in the top 25% journals by CiteScore. 19.8% of publications from UNNC were in the top 10% most cited publications worldwide. In all these dimensions, UNNC outperformed China’s C9 league universities.

Together with the University of Nottingham and its Malaysia campus, the research impact of the University global family has been evidenced through 135 case studies, which show that between 2014 and 2021 the lives of more than 100 million people have been positively changed by its research.

Examples include:

Joining force with researchers at UNNC, the University’s research power will support and accelerate the innovation advancement in Ningbo and China to make economic and social impact locally.

Examples include:

  • the China Beacons Institute (CBI) has been carrying out world-leading research in intelligent manufacturing, green chemicals and energy, life science and healthcare, which are strategic areas for the economic and social development of Ningbo and China. Connecting with the UK campus’ challenge-led Future Food Beacon of Excellence, a Centre for Smart Food for Health will bridge across to the other two China Beacons of Green Chemistry and Advanced Manufacturing, to provide a unique, transdisciplinary delivery platform.
  • Building on from the legacy in MRI technology advancement in the UK, the world’s first cryogen-free MRI scanner co-developed by UNNC has been granted for listing on market. It lays a solid foundation for the technological advances in multi-pose MRI scanning techniques and addresses the global shortage in helium resources.
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Chengbo Wang, Associate Professor in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Creating high-quality research is in the DNA of the University of Nottingham global family and the global rankings and research achievements reaffirm UNNC’s position as a powerhouse for developing cutting-edge research. The positive impact of the university’s research can be seen globally across industries, businesses and society, and is a testament to the determination of UNNC researchers to make a difference in the world and improve the lives of people around the globe.