Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

Highlights of REF 2021

increased the impact of our research, quality of research outputs and range of disciplines submitted in REF 2021.

The growth of research at

REF 2021 shows that we have strong foundations on which to build as we make high quality, impactful research a shared priority for our community.

Since REF 2014 our research has grown in overall quality of outputs and impact and in the range of subjects covered.

We achieved our results while balancing resources across all three areas of academic excellence – research and knowledge exchange, education and engagement.

Our global impact

100% of the work submitted for five disciplines had outstanding (4-star) or very considerable (3-star) impact, aligned to three strategic themes in our Strategy for 2031.

Equity and Improvements in Health and Wellbeing – Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience; Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism

Sustainability of Communities and the Environment – Geography and Environmental Studies; Business and Management Studies

Inclusive Socio-economic Development and Enriching Lives through Culture – Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory

Our future outlook

As a community, our collaborative, creative and inclusive approach is helping to shape the future of research. We promote excellence in research and knowledge exchange by:

  • Designing for regional and global impact that addresses future challenges
  • Working with national and international partners, global industry and public services
  • Building research projects from the ground up, working inclusively and innovatively with communities
  • Working as learning organisation in dialogue with partners, collaborators, sponsors and beneficiaries


Allied Health, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy

Units of assessment and results overview

Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy

This submission presented work carried out by researchers in the Departments of Natural Sciences; Design Engineering and Mathematics; and Adult, Child and Midwifery at . A total of 32 researchers were involved, working in four research groups: Biophysics and Bioengineering; Biomarkers and Molecular Biology; Public Health Policy; and Nursing Research.

The impact we achieved 

This research project has pioneered the use of Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT), which can be used to image organ function in real time (100 images/second). Compared with existing technology it is highly portable, inexpensive and lends itself readily to remote imaging to save lives. The project's key impacts are:

  • Provision of imaging algorithms and clinical analysis impacting on clinical softwareCreation of the largest clinical data store for EIT clinical data in the world (> 50TBytes) for use by clinicians and industrial/academic researchers
  • Development of new wearable hardware for application on patents impacting on clinical usability of EIT
  • Successful use for monitoring pre-term neonates in the largest clinical study undertaken to date and for identifying key parameters for the clinical management of neonates with respiratory conditions impacting on clinical practices
  • Cost saving of €928 to €10,705 per patient in the Dutch setting, or €1,124 to €8,496 per patient in the German setting
  • Ongoing work with Printed Electronics Limited (PEL), a UK-based technology company, to develop print on flexible printed circuits for the EIT neonate system

The research behind it

The impact described above evolved from a series of specific developments employing EIT, including:

  • Successful generation of the first 2D images of impedance change inside the human head using EIT (1996 –2003)
  • A range of clinical applications and the development of a method of automatically generating subject-specific FE models (2003-2007) and, since 2008, the development of a further algorithm
  • Development of algorithms and hardware for image reconstruction, parameter measurement and boundary form generation (since 2016), culminating in the first large scale study monitoring the lung function of 200 neonates (preterm, high risk) for 72 hours each
  • Clinical system for use in neonatal intensive care units, and further developments to clinical hardware for bedside monitoring of lung gestation of pre-term neonates

The research continued to flourish and diversify throughout the coronavirus pandemic when we repurposed the hardware and techniques for monitoring COVID-19 pneumonia in adult ITUs.

The people involved at and beyond

The research team behind the project consists of Professor Richard Bayford, Dr Andrew Tizzard, and Dr Andy Bardill.

Along the way, the team has collaborated with several universities, hospitals and industry partners – locally, nationally and globally – including the Great Ormond Street Hospital and UCL (UK); Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu (Finland), Nicosia General Hospital (Cyprus), Sentec (previously called Swisstom) and Emergex (UK); and Dartmouth College and Florida State University (USA).

Read Electrical Impedance Tomography submission (PDF)


The impact we achieved

This research project addressed global non-communicable disease (NCD) challenges, impacting on both public policy, and health and wellbeing. The World Health Organization's (WHO) NCD Global Monitoring Framework (WHO-GMF) enables global tracking of progress in preventing and controlling major NCDs and their key risk factors. The project's key impacts are:

  • Generation of a worldwide risk factor database used by WHO enabling global tracking of NCD prevention and control
  • Evaluation of body fatness links to cancer led to WHO-supported lifelong dietary improvement and physical activity strategies
  • Inclusion of non-vitamin K anticoagulants in WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for atrial fibrillation treatment – a key milestone in stroke prevention
  • Contribution to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence evaluation of tumour profiling tests guiding personalised breast cancer treatment
  • Development of new generation of instrumentation to improve diseases’ detection and diagnosis
  • Development of testing for pre-eclampsia prediction allowing early intervention and treatment

The research behind it

Our Public Health and Biomarker Research Groups have a proven track record in the analysis of cardio-metabolic risk factors and the identification of novel biomarkers for a range of pathologies linked with cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Specifically, the impact described above evolved from research across global health and clinical innovation commencing in 2006 including:

Epidemiological research on the global burden of metabolic risk factors which led to the creation of the largest dataset of metabolic risk factors using over 3,000 population-based surveys with more than 130 million participants

Work on health inequalities focusing on the burden of malnutrition and access to treatment for stroke prevention in low and middle-income countries

Development of novel drug-resistant cell models of cancer and tools for the discovery of biomarkers for drug-resistant cancers
Design of mass spectrometry methodology resulting in a new platform used to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous cells
Research and clinical trial work in reproductive medicine, alongside analytical methodology

The people involved at and beyond

The research team behind the project were led by Professor Ajit Shah, Dr Frank Hills, Dr Mariachiara Di Cesare, and Dr Britta Stordal.

The team has collaborated with universities, research centres and industry partners including: WHO Collaborating Centre on NCD Surveillance Epidemiology at Imperial College London, King’s College London, Iduron Ltd, and Ascend Diagnostics (UK).

Read Improving Health Outcomes Through Monitoring, Improving Diagnosis, and Access to Treatment Submission (PDF)



The impact we achieved

The development of new drug therapies costs up to £4bn to reach FDA approval stage however many therapies are not reliable despite this significant investment. For example, approximately 99% of drugs administered through freely circulating methods do not reach their target site.

This work focuses on the use and understanding of gold nanoparticles (GNP) for more effective and targeted therapies with the following impacts:

  • Using imaging to track these nanoparticles in humans in real time and improve the delivery of therapeutic drugs and therapies
  • Improving targeted therapies and optimising therapeutic intervention including for the development of new vaccines
  • Working with industrial partners to develop ground-breaking technologies for therapies including for cancer, dementia, and COVID-19, which could significantly reduce the side effects associated with other treatments like chemotherapies

The research behind it

Our research is focused on the use and understanding of GNP including in the delivery of therapeutic drugs which is of considerable importance for pharmaceutical research and industry.

The underpinning research looked at:

  • Tracking GNP using Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT)
  • Heating GNPs to kill cancer cells working with industrial partners
  • Using Electrical Impedance Tomography to image GNPs in colorectal cancer using from the EPSRC Grand Challenge
  • Application for cancer and vaccines including COVID-19

The people involved at and beyond

Our research team included Professor Richard Bayford, Dr Song Wen and Professor Ajit Shah.

We worked with industrial partners Emergex vaccines, Proxima Concepts and Ascend Diagnostics. We collaborated with Imperial College London and Institute of Nano-Resolution Optics at Nanjing University.

Read Effective Methods to Study and Locate the Physical Properties of Gold Nanoparticles in Medical Application to Improve Clinical Effectiveness Submission (PDF)

Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

This submission presented work carried out by researchers in the Department of Psychology at . There are a total of 30 researchers, working in five research groups: Applied Health Psychology; Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience; Community and Clinical Psychology; Developmental Psychology; and Sports Psychology in Action.

The impact we achieved

Every life lost to suicide on the railways is a tragedy, with immeasurable emotional costs to bereaved family and friends, as well as train drivers and other witnesses. The suicide prevention charity Samaritans, on behalf of the rail industry, commissioned this research to develop a better understanding of how to support people in crisis and prevent future suicide attempts.

The work contributed to a decrease in suicides on the London Underground Network through practice changes, staff training and an award-winning public awareness campaign (‘Small Talk Saves Lives’). There were also impacts in other countries, for example Germany and the Netherlands, and other contexts including other public places and Criminal Justice settings as a result.

Universities UK recognised Principal Investigator Dr Lisa Marzano as a “Nation's Lifesaver” for “saving lives and making a life-changing difference to our health and wellbeing” and she received a 'Lifesaver Award' from Transport for London.

The research behind it

The underpinning research has generated new evidence of why and how individuals attempt suicide on the railways and considered:

  • Factors contributing to an individual choosing the railway as a suicide method
  • Key deterrents against railway suicide
  • Behaviours identifiable in the moments leading up to a suicide or suicide attempt on the railways

The people involved at and beyond

The research team included Dr Lisa Marzano, Dr Bob Fields and Ian Kruger.

Our partners included Samaritans, British Transport Police, Network Rail, Transport for London, Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB), ProRail (Netherlands), Caritas Berlin.

Read Preventing Railway Suicide submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

This research project focused on the psychological impact that reproductive health has on the individual and society. It has informed national and international policy and practice in areas of mental health, employment, personal relationships and legal, ethical and human rights.

The key impacts of the research are:

  • Surrogate motherhood: used extensively in the Law Commission’s report to parliament (2019/20) calling for changes to UK law
  • Multiple births: drawn on by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to reduce the effects of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality
  • Pregnancy loss: informed the practice recommendations in The Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ (2017) report on ‘Non-invasive Prenatal Testing: ethical issues’
  • Donor motivations: informed a number of policies and recommendations internationally, including those from American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), The Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology (SRIP) and the European Commission
  • Infertility treatment: contributed to UK Parliamentary debates on the psychological effects of funding shortages for fertility treatment and counselling, through the Fertility Network UK (FNUK) and SRIP

The research behind it

The project’s impact on specific aspects of reproductive (dys)functioning – surrogate motherhood, multiple births, pregnancy loss, donor motivations, and infertility treatment – is underpinned by research work which:

  • Demonstrated the need to consider the human rights of the surrogate-born child
  • Showed that the psychological impact of multiple births puts mothers of twins or multiples at a significantly higher risk of post-traumatic stress and its disorder compared to mothers of singletons
  • Demonstrated that second-trimester pregnancy loss is associated with higher levels of stress than first-trimester losses, indicating late detection and terminations for foetal abnormalities are detrimental to the psychological health of the mothers
  • Reported important individual differences between commercial and altruistic, and between white and non-white oocyte donors’, motivations for and attitudes to gamete donation
  • Showed that suicidal feelings, and detrimental effects on relationships and career prospects, were common psychological impacts of treatment for infertility, impacting upon economic input and stability

The people involved at and beyond

The research team behind the project consisted of Professor Olga van den Akker, Dr Satvinder Purewal, Dr Gianina Postavaru, Vilte Daugidaite, and Dr Nicola Payne.

Read Psychosocial Impacts of Reproductive Health and Wellbeing Submission (PDF)

Computer Science and Informatics

Computer Science and Informatics

This submission presented work carried out by researchers in the Departments of Computer Science; Design Engineering and Mathematics; and Natural Sciences at . A total of 69 members of staff were involved, working in five research groups: Interaction Design; Algorithms and Software Engineering; Intelligent Environments; Networks and Distributed Systems; and Artificial Intelligence.

The impact we achieved

This research project has advanced Digital Twin (DT) research in foundational DT programming technologies and in digital twins for structural health monitoring of large-scale infrastructures. A strong example of how researchers collaborate with industry to address emerging problems, the project’s key impacts are:

  • Industry-scale demonstrators for our partner Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) clients
  • Design and implementation of Enterprise Simulation Language (ESL), which has been productized by TCS as the Java TwinX™ Library software
  • Design simulations and non-pharmaceutical interventions for managing the COVID-19 Pandemic in Pune, India using ESL and its derivatives
  • Digital Twin representation of Thăng Long bridge in Hanoi, Vietnam to produce a repair and maintenance plan resulting in benefits of £9.1m (£1.5m of savings on repair costs + £7.6m of estimated economy benefit)
  • The developed Digital Twin model and tools have now been explored to improve automation in industry 4.0 in India (tea manufacturing in a UKIERI project)

The research behind it

Professor Barn and Professor Clark have developed language-based simulation and modelling techniques to design, analyse and adapt the development of complex enterprise systems. Their construction of an executable modelling language called LEAP, together with a toolset for enterprise simulation, have addressed the unsuitability of the pre-existing approaches to DT representation of enterprise modelling as basis for simulation analysis. This led to the creation of a novel programming language called ESL and an associated development platform called EDB which can be used to aid decision-makers.

In the area of structural health monitoring of large infrastructure artefacts, Professor Nguyen has been addressing the problem of how to detect damage and predict future maintenance requirements of large infrastructures such as bridges in collaboration with the University of Transport and Communications (UTC), Vietnam. Professor Nguyen has developed a novel hybrid approach delivering highly accurate results in detecting damage and its severity even for multiple damage scenarios. The resulting method is a practical end-to-end data-driven framework for automatically monitoring the operational state of structures.

The people involved at and beyond

The research team behind the project consisted of Professor Balbir Barn, Professor Tony Clark, Professor Huan Nguyen, Dr Mohsin Raza, and Dr Dang Viet Hung.

Our partners included industry (Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India), government and academia (Vietnam), and an NGO (India). In 2019 established the London Digital Twin Research Centre where the Smart Cyber Factory facility supplied by our partners Festo Didactic and Siemens has been building on the project’s work.

Read Digital Twin Specification, Design and Application submission (PDF)

See 'Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy' for case study

The impact we achieved

  • This research project has advanced Computer Science through a new system architecture for Intelligent Environments (IE) which generates measurable impacts in several directions and for the benefit of citizen groups – locally and internationally – often neglected by the technology giants. The project’s key impacts are:
  • Contributing to improvements in quality of life of different sectors of society with special needs, such as people with Down’s
  • Syndrome and elderly citizens experiencing early stages of dementia
    Providing ambient assisted living support for older people in their homes
  • Encouraging citizens to be more physically active
  • We have also developed and finessed methods and tools designed to assist citizens with context awareness, now used by industry, and have shared knowledge with decision-makers, politicians and public sector influencing policy for specific citizen groups, such as those experiencing early symptoms of dementia-like conditions. Concepts developed with our help also led to business development within the European market

The research behind it

Intelligent Environments refer to systems which exist in a physical environment enriched with sensing technology and Artificial Intelligence algorithms to provide context-sensitive help to humans. Since 2013, our Research Group has focused on specific challenges in these systems around the core concepts of contexts and context-awareness, guided by users’ specific needs within practical contexts and by their expectations from system services in those contexts. The underpinning research includes:

  • Creation of our own refined versions of existing approaches to system development, an iterative process centred on stakeholder’s engagement, including our own method to gather requirements for IE and an ethical framework for IE Development
  • Development of specific strategies for context-aware systems’ testing and validation
  • Specialising algorithms to make known AI techniques to work in real life IE scenarios. Those automated learning and reasoning algorithms combined with context-awareness resources and specialized interfaces provide a new system architecture for intelligent environments

The people involved

Our research team behind this project consisted of Professor Juan Carlos Augusto, Carl James-Reynolds, Dr Ralph Moseley, Dr Mark Springett, and Dr Jill Stewart.

Read Intelligent Environments – Engineering and Applications submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

This multi-disciplinary research project has focused on advancing technology for social good, particularly for marginalised young people in conflict with the law. Bringing together different computer science, social policy and criminology, our work has made a difference locally, nationally and globally to policy and strategy, public education, and the growth of an international SME (GNB) working in the social enterprise sector. The project’s key impacts are:

  • Development of the UK’s first mobile app to support Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) in the work with young people in the youth justice system. The app, MAYOT, has already been deployed in Bromley and West Marcia YOTs
  • Contribution to international software development which embeds our co-design methodology in its design practice

The research behind it

At the initiation of this research (2013), there were over 20,000 first time entrants into the youth system, with 66,430 young people forming the case load of YOTs nationally (2012 data). To ease this workload, we envisaged the use of a personalised smartphone app to support interactions between case workers and young people. Our research team worked closely with young people and their managers to co-design the app, adopting a value sensitive approach. The resulting conceptual model for value sensitive concerns has formed a substantive body of research reported internationally, on what has since become an important research area. The underpinning research included:

  • App development for social care settings and further research in support of social workers. The latter exposed the importance of understanding users and how users interact and work with mobile devices in challenging settings, as well as the importance of inter-disciplinary approaches to solution development
  • Research consultancy project which increased knowledge of the important role of young people’s relationship with mobile technology and addressed the risk-taking behaviours of young people

The people involved at and beyond

The research team behind the project were Professor Balbir Barn, Professor Franco Raimondi, and Dr Giuseppe Primiero.

Our research team has worked in collaboration with several stakeholders across sectors including three Youth Offending Services in England, social enterprise Global Notice Board (GNB), and Royal Holloway, University of London.

Read Enabling Positive Engagement Between Youth Workers and Young Offenders Through Mobile Apps submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

The VALCRI project (Visual Analytics for sense-making in Criminal Intelligence Analysis) focused on enhancing criminal and intelligence investigations by bringing together academia, law enforcement and industry from across 17 organisations throughout Europe. The project’s output was a visual analysis system using tactile reasoning which enhances criminal and intelligence investigations and its key impacts were:

  • Creation of a visual analysis system using tactile reasoning which enhances criminal and intelligence investigations
  • Financial gains through the commercialisation of the system, for instance the VALCRI IP has already been acquired by Canadian global security systems company, Genetec Inc, with paying customers since September 2019
  • Improvements in performance, practices and policies for police investigations and subsequent societal benefits by raising skills and technology awareness across several police and intelligence communities
  • Informing public debate about intelligence-led policing through its active dissemination, including a presentation ton Latin American government and police leaders

The research behind it

Police intelligence analysts only ever have fragmented data from which to investigate cases and pre-empt terrorist attacks. They also operate in large numbers of datasets and volumes of data, and when they discover relevant information, they assemble evidential chains and narratives that must create a convincing argument and be able to withstand interrogation in court. Police therefore need a combination of tools to discover relevant data across vast data sets. VALCRI’s impact stemmed from its development of technology which addressed this problem by allowing users to interact fluidly with the data and task at hand, using a radically different user-interface based on the concept of tactile reasoning, while ensuring analytic rigour. As a result, hypotheses can be formulated and tested quickly, enabling investigators to discard or modify their hypotheses within minutes and hours, rather than days and weeks.

The project was underpinned by Professor Wong’s research into the representation design of information and the interaction design of user interfaces to support human decision making in complex dynamic environments. The invention of interaction design INVISQUE (2009) – the interactive visual search and query environment that makes information graspable, enabling ‘tactile reasoning’, an epistemic action that facilitates sense-making and decision making – in combination with other visual analytics research projects including the UKVAC (UK Visual Analytics Consortium) and the EPSRC MakingSense project (2010-13) drove the design of VALCRI.

The people involved at and beyond

The research team at consisted of Professor B.L. William Wong, Dr Neesha Kodagoda, Dr Chris Rooney, Patrick Seidler, and Stefan Lozovanu.

The VALCRI consortium – led by Professor Wong – comprised 9 universities and research organisations, 5 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and 3 Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) from across Europe, bringing together 103 scientists and engineers with a diverse set of expertise.

Read Intelligence-led Policing using VALCRI Visual Analytics Technology submission (PDF)

Geography and Environmental Studies

Geography and Environmental Studies

The submission presented work carried out by researchers in the Departments of Natural Sciences; Design Engineering and Mathematics; and Mental Health and Social Work, as well as the School of Law at . A total of 21 researchers work within our two internationally-facing research centres, the Flood Hazard Research Centre and Urban Pollution Research Centre, as well as within research groups including: Ecology, Environmental Assessment and Resource Management, Risks and Hazards and Urban Geography.

The impact we achieved

The average annual cost of flooding in the UK is £1.3 billion. Part of the UK’s response to tackling urban flooding was adoption of the Flood and Water Management Act (2010) recommending the use of sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS) in all new and re-developments. The greater use of blue green infrastructure (BGI) such as SuDS is seen as essential to solving urban and climate challenges.

Our research has directly contributed to the recognition of SuDS as core components of BGI and providers of multiple ecosystem services within urban areas, making an impact on:

  • National legislation and guidelines, by directly informing Best Practice Guidelines to tackle urban flooding, used by all Local Authorities in England
  • Environment, society, quality of life and the economy, by evidencing the contribution of SuDS/BGI to sustainable urban development from social, technical and environmental perspectives, with our approach also being adopted in urban planning legislation within an area in Brazil
  • Policy development, by developing a road runoff pollution hotspot screening tool now considered best practice in London and creating knowledge which was been fully embedded within the ISO Guidelines for Stormwater Management in Urban Areas (2020)

The research behind it

’s impact on legislation, policy development and urban planning addressing is underpinned by research which has:

  • Established the performance of SuDS/BGI to treat a range of contaminants transported by urban stormwater runoff and has developed a novel approach to mitigate impacts of road runoff on receiving water quality at a catchment and local scale
  • Contributed to the development of extensive data sets resulting in major contributions to the development of national best practice
  • Resulted in insight underpinning the development of a novel theoretical approach to assessing the relative potential for removal of all WFD priority (hazardous) substances by 15 types of SuDS. Our research has underpinned the approach set out in the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) SuDS manual and informed the development of a road pollution hotspot screening tool recommended for use by the Greater London Authority, Transport for London and Environment Agency
  • Improved our understanding of how blue-green spaces function as a part of the broader urban socio-economic context, yielding potential benefits to liveability and wellbeing
  • Explored how knowledge of experienced ecosystem services can be integrated within the planning system to support environmentally just outcomes

The people involved

Our research team included Professor Lian Lundy, Dr Meri Juntti, Professor Mike Revitt, Professor Bryan Ellis, and Professor David Ball.

Read Working with Nature to Enhance Urban Liveability: The Multi-functional Role of Urban Blue Green Infrastructure

The impact we achieved

More than five million properties in England are at some degree of flood risk, with many more people and communities affected across the UK and globally. Estimations of this flood risk and its social and economic impacts, as well as the benefits of interventions, are required to justify investment in crucial flood risk management work.

The Flood Hazard Research Centre (FHRC) has carried out pioneering research on flood loss assessment methodologies over the past 40 years. These flood impact methodologies, models, data and tools, developed from the research, are considered industry best practice and are utilised to make investment decisions. Our research and outputs are available directly to licensed users via a bespoke website.

The impacts include:

  • Flood risk policy making, strategy and investment - FHRC research, approved by HM Treasury, has facilitated all central government investment in flood risk management interventions between 2014 and 2020
  • Societal impact through avoiding flood risk damages – over 720 flood risk management schemes have been implemented between 2015 and 2020 delivering widespread social, health and economic benefits
  • Flood risk practice – our online dataset has been formally recognised for use across countries and professionals from 146 organisations have licenses to use these methodologies and data

The research behind it

Our body of research looks at a number of interconnected areas:

  • Developing and testing econometric theory-informed methodologies for flood risk assessment
  • Assessing the impact of flooding on people using algorithmic methods which link flood and floodplain characteristics to the potential for fatalities and injuries
  • Policy and decision-making evaluations, with a particular focus on the socially disadvantaged and the critical role of insurance to UK flood risk management
  • Collaboration and research exploitation working with academics, policy-makers and flood risk management professionals, consultant engineers and insurers who apply and exploit our methodologies and findings

The people involved at and beyond

The research team at included Dr Sally Priest, Dr Christophe Viavattene, Professor Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Sue Tapsell, Professor Dennis Parker, Damon Owen, and Sylvia Tunstall.

Our research has informed the work of Defra, National Flood Forum, Environment Agency, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Committee on Climate Change as well as consultant engineers including Arup, Capita, Jacobs, JBA Consulting, RMS and insurers such as Flood Re.

Read Reducing the Impact of Flooding on Society: Risk Assessment Methodologies and Data for Flood Risk Management and Investment submission (PDF)

Business and Management Studies

Business and Management Studies

This submission presented seven impact case studies carried out by 96 members of staff from the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) and the Departments of Accounting and Finance; Marketing Enterprise and Tourism; Economics; and Management, Leadership and Organisations at .

The impact we achieved

Society continues to face the urgent issue of how to tackle race discrimination by employers. Through this research, we have successfully proposed replacing existing voluntary approaches to race discrimination in the NHS with a strategy of data-driven accountability and regulatory scrutiny. This has led to large-scale changes throughout the NHS.

These research impacts on NHS policy flowed most immediately flowed from:

  • Roger Kline’s highly-influential 2014 report ‘The Snowy White Peaks of the NHS’, showing under-representation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) NHS staff at senior levels
  • Introduction in 2015 of a NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) designed by Kline that drove sustained, large-scale NHS action on race discrimination
  • Integration of the WRES into Care Quality Commission inspections

The implementation of the WRES in turn impacted on BME staff in the NHS through:

  • Improved likelihood of being appointed from shortlisting
  • Greater number appointed at senior/Board level
  • Reduction in the likelihood of disciplinary action
  • Adoption of an equality standard by all NHS professional regulators, for example Nursing and Midwifery Council and General Medical Council
  • Action on bullying

The research behind it

Research at on developing and safeguarding worker rights, including health and safety, the enforcement of the national minimum wage and whistleblowing, has demonstrated the shortcomings in voluntary approaches to changing workplace behaviours. Roger Kline’s research on solutions to this problem identified an approach using data-driven accountability linked to contractual compulsion and regulatory scrutiny. This approach was developed in the light  of trade union  and  HR  services’ failure  to  address the challenges facing staff within  the  culture  of  the  NHS.

The findings of this analysis underpinned further research, leading up to the ‘The Snowy White Peaks of the NHS’ and the WRES. Subsequent research by Kline and others has included analysis of the substantial financial cost of bullying and harassment to the NHS in England which disproportionately impacts BME staff, and an investigation into the disproportionate referrals of some groups of doctors, notably BME doctors, to the General Medical Council.

The people involved at and beyond

The research team at included Roger Kline, Professor Philip James, Professor Richard Croucher, Professor David Lewis, Dr Ian Roper and Professor Suzan Lewis.

Partners and collaborators include NHS England, Care Quality Commission, General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Professional Standards Authority.

Read Improving the treatment of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff in the NHS submission

The impact we achieved

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – from start-ups to rapid scale-up businesses – contribute hugely to the UK economy. The challenge of addressing these enterprises’ access to finance for innovation has become central to UK economic policy.

Our research has demonstrated the significant role that public co-finance venture capital can play in meeting early-stage funding gaps for potential high growth and innovative SMEs. This has impacted the economy and innovation in two areas:

Expansion in scale and scope of public co-finance venture capital provision – resulting in new funds such as the £25m London Co-investment Fund for Series A commercialisation and the £400m UK Treasury uplift of investment into the British Business Bank’s (BBB) flagship Enterprise Capital Funds, which have since assisted several hundred potential high growth (PHG) UK SMEs.

Creation and development of more effective innovative SME finance schemes. Here, examples include our early evaluations of the BBB Angel Co-Fund and Innovate UK (IUK) Investment Accelerator Pilot, with both programmes subsequently gaining multi-million pound additional public funding and focusing more on UK regional development for levelling-up – leveraging hundreds of millions of private investment into several hundred PHG UK SMEs.

The research behind it

Analysis of the growth needs of SMEs, particularly in relation to access to finance, has been central to the work of the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) at for over 25 years. 
Their findings from multiple studies identified what SME finance schemes needed to address:

Role of public co-finance venture capital – including its positive impact, the imbalance between supply and demand and the importance of developing greater regional finance access across the UK
Issues to inform their development – including finance demand and SME investment readiness, lack of integration between funding streams and improving targeting for green finance support – CEEDR advised BEIS on the establishment of their £20m Clean Growth Fund.

The people involved at and beyond

The research team at included Dr Robyn Owen (previously Baldock), Professor David North, Dr Suman Lodh and early career researchers such as Dr Maja Savic and Dr Theresa Harrer.

The team worked with BBB, BEIS, IUK, London’s Mayor, Greater London Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership and Oxford Innovation.

Read Transformation of the Financing and Support for Early Stage SME Innovation submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

Research led by Professor David Lewis has been vital in the transformation of the protection available to whistleblowers both nationally and internationally. Between 2014 and 2020, his work further raised the public profile of the significance of whistleblowing, advancing human rights and justice, with particular impact on two areas:

  • Changed employer practice on whistleblowing in large public and private sector employers, including the NHS and the Garda (the national police service of the Republic of Ireland). The introduction of codes of practice  drawing on Lewis’ work shifted mechanisms of corporate and organisational accountability in respect of whistleblowing and improved employment protection for millions of workers
  • Evidence-led reshaping of legislation internationally to protect whistleblowers, including the development of a new EU directive in 2019, covering the 27 EU member states and influencing legislative development across a wider number of countries in the Council of Europe

The research behind it

Our Business School has spearheaded research on whistleblowing since the 1990s, with Lewis developing a body of research which has made major contributions to promoting employer good practice and shaping government legislation and guidelines. This impact is underpinned by findings from Lewis’ various research projects, and critical reviews, including:

  • Analysing employer practice in relation to whistleblowing, focusing on public sector  procedures and the practice of the FTSE top 250 companies
  • Evaluating institutional frameworks for protecting whistleblowers and responding to their concerns, including the role of trade unions
    Considering whether whistleblowers could be better protected in the UK if whistleblowing was treated as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010
  • Comparing the impact of the UK statutory provisions on whistleblowing with those in other jurisdictions. Assessing the value of international official guidelines on whistleblowing procedures
  • Commissioned studies, presentations, and evidence to businesses, governments and other bodies by Lewis have also provided an evidence base for the introduction of corporate and legal initiatives in many countries

The people involved at and beyond

Hosted at by Professor David Lewis since 2009, the International Whistleblowing Research Network (IWRN) – which now comprises over 200 researchers, practitioners and policymakers from across the world – has encouraged networking and dissemination of research and good practice.

Read Improving the Protection of Whistleblowers submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

Since 2005, a programme of research conducted by researchers in our Business School has explored issues of unlawful under- and non-payment of wages and the challenges of effective regulation in low paid sectors of the labour market, addressing the scarcity of research in Britain into the under- and non-payment of wages.   The wage theft issue has been made more visible through our research.  Our work has contributed to a fairer and more equitable society by advancing arrangements for the enforcement of workers’ rights. Its key impacts are:

  • Raising political, public and media debate on these issues and stimulating further policy-oriented research on under- and unpaid wages.
  • Influencing government policy on employment rights enforcement, which directly benefitted over 2 million of Britain’s lowest paid workers. The need for a unified Directorate of Labour Market Enforcement has been informed by the research

The research behind it

Our research has produced robust evidence on the scale of the issue of the non-payment of wages by employers, amounting to £3.1 billion annually. Findings and recommendations from our work have directly informed government employment rights enforcement policy. Oganisations seeking to advance the interests of vulnerable workers have also used our findings, raising public debate on the issue. This impact resulted from underpinning research on:

  • National Minimum Wage enforcement and its impact on low paying sectors and the recovery of underpaid arrears
  • Supply chain regulation
  • Migrant workers in the shadow economy
  • Employment rights enforcement, unpaid wages recovery and the different business models pursued by employers some of which are based on strategies of systematic non-compliance with workers’ rights
  • Employment issues of young people in full-time study

The people involved at and beyond

Our research team included Nick Clark, Professor Philip James, Professor Richard Croucher, Eva Herman, and Professor Brad Blitz.

We collaborated and engaged across sectors, including with academia, numerous trade unions (including Unite and GMB), NGOs, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, the Low Pay Commission and providers of legal advice providers (e.g. Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Thompsons Solicitors).

Read Detecting and Improving the Recovery of Unpaid Wages Submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

Social enterprises in the UK and internationally face major challenges to their establishment, survival and growth. Research undertaken by our Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) resulted in changes to practice and public policy, enabling growth of the social enterprise sector and generating impact in three ways:

  • Informing and influencing government policy to help social enterprises grow and to construct more diverse and socially inclusive city economies in the UK (particularly in relation to public service mutual) and internationally, for example through the EU Social Business Initiative
  • Encouraging Social Enterprise (SE) start-ups and strategic change through online courses, training, and in-depth consultancy/advice. CEEDR’s open online courses had over 50,000 registrations between 2016-2020 with an impact evaluation showing 1,945 new social enterprises were attributable to course participation
  • Improving the services provided by SE providers, specifically in relation to financial support and service design and delivery, supporting their growth and promoting wider socially inclusive development

The research behind it

Since 2005, a series of research projects within CEEDR in ’s Business School have made a significant contribution to understanding how social enterprises grow and how support provision is best designed and organised. Our early research on strategic change in SE focused on concerns regarding lack of growth exhibited by many small enterprises. This has been further developed since 2016 by researchers working with the international Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), as well as through 18 further relevant contract research projects in collaboration with non-academic partners and commissioning bodies, including the Government Office for Civil Society at DCMS. The impact of this programme of research was underpinned by key findings on:

  • Management for start-up and strategic change
  • Managing innovation -detailed analysis of SE innovation processes
  • Financing SE
  • The role of public policy in supporting the growth of the SE sector

The people involved at and beyond

Our research team consisted of Professor Fergus Lyon, Dr Ian Vickers, Dr Leandro Sepulveda , Dr Sara Calvo, Dr Robyn Owen (previously Baldock), and Dr Bianca Stumbitz.

Some of the research was undertaken in collaboration with academic partners, social change and community interest organisations, and governmental bodies.

Read Creating and Growing Social Enterprise submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

The introduction of a Living Wage (LW) is recognised within public debate as an important mechanism to address problems arising from low wages and rising social inequality. Our research on the adoption and implementation of the LW by employers has shifted debate nationally and internationally, resulting in the following key impacts:

  • Heightened awareness of the benefits of the LW in public debate and contribution to a significant increase in LW accreditations, and workers receiving an uplift in wages in the UK and New Zealand
  • Improvements in business practice, including informing staff development within Living Wage advocacy organisations, improving a leading benchmarking tool for socially responsible business to inform and monitor their LW performance, and facilitating the expansion of the LW across the operations of a leading international workplace and facilities management company
  • Influence on the agendas, actions and policies of bodies including national and local governments.

The research behind it

Research at our Business School on this topic started in 2005 with a study of the historic introduction of the National Minimum Wage in the UK, a hotly-debated initiative.  This was followed by a stream of research into the ethical and social responsibility of business. The growth of low-wage jobs and absence/very low levels of legally binding minimum wages led civil society organisations in several economies (including UK, Canada, Ireland, USA) to urge employers to implement a LW rate calculated on ‘basic living costs’.

However, the advancement of this agenda was hindered by the lack of robust research evidence into the impact of LW on businesses. Working with the University of Liverpool, addressed this problem through a programme of research starting in 2014 into the adoption of the voluntary LW by organisations. The research was innovative in its attention on the impacts of LW at an organisational level, and its particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. Our findings and insights enabled campaigning organisations nationally and globally to produce a robustly evidenced case with which they engaged with employers, national and local governments and intergovernmental organisations to promote LWs. Our research provided evidence on:

  • Employer motivations
  • The affordability of adoption of the LW
  • The benefits of LW adoption for organisations and their employees
    Good practice with regard to LW implementation

The people involved at and beyond

Our research team consisted of Dr Andrea Werner, Professor Richard Croucher, and Professor Marian Rizov.

Dr Werner worked together with Dr Ming Lim (University of Liverpool) for the programme of research into the adoption of the voluntary LW by organisations.

Read Encouraging Adoption of the Living Wage by Employers submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

Reproduction and employment issues are increasingly prominent in discussions about inclusive development, particularly since the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, there is a scarcity of knowledge around maternity protection and sexual and reproductive health rights, particularly within small and medium-sized enterprises and informal economy workplaces in low and middle-income countries in the Global South.

Across nine projects, we addressed this scarcity and made an impact through:

  • Shaping advocacy messages about maternity protection and breastfeeding at work
  • Influencing national policy and workplace strategies in Ghana, South Africa and Malaysia
  • Improving workplace practice at a firm level

The research behind it

Researchers in the Business School’s Gender and Diversity Research Cluster established:

  • Maternity protection and sexual reproductive health workplace rights can be affordable and provide substantial firm-level and societal benefits
  • The feasibility and affordability of some low-cost supports, like breastfeeding and informal childcare support
  • Diverse approaches that consider cultural, political and economic factors are required at a national level
  • There is a lack of awareness of employees’ rights and employers’ duties that acts as a barrier

The people involved at and beyond

The research team at included Dr Bianca Stumbitz, Dr Lilian Miles, Professor Suzan Lewis, Dr Tim Freeman and Professor Fergus Lyon.

They worked with international organisations including International Labour Organisation, World Health Organisation, United Nations, British Academy and British Council and UNICEF.



This submission presented three impact case studies carried out by 32 members of staff in the School of Law and the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) at .

The impact we achieved

Applied legal research undertaken by the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) based at has provided strategic direction to litigation at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) against states in the post-Soviet region. Since 2014, EHRAC has been instrumental not only in extending human rights protection in the region but also in strengthening the rule of law in Europe and developing jurisprudence internationally. Key impacts of its work include:

  • Securing justice and compensation amounting to €5,455,000 for 519 victims in 92 cases
  • Changes introduced in laws, practice and policy
  • Benefits to a new generation of human rights lawyers from related advocacy, mentoring and training

The research behind it

EHRAC’s unique institutional status within a university enables academic research to work in synergy with ground-breaking strategic litigation. Comprising 16 lawyers and programme staff who mentor litigating human rights NGOs and lawyers in Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Armenia, EHRAC exposes systemic violations in respect of post-conflict societies, state surveillance, judicial independence, political prosecutions and gender-based violence, among other areas.

Our litigation impact is underpinned by Professor Leach’s and Dr Donald’s joint and individual work, including analyses of and research into:

  • The ECtHR’s law, practice and procedures
  • The effectiveness of ECtHR jurisprudence and practice in cases concerning the right to life, the domestic investigatory system, the award of reparations, and approaches to systemic human rights abuses
  • Problems in gathering evidence in conflict settings – an issue we tackled by producing a web-based platform concerned with evidence of Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine in 2014, in collaboration with the multi-disciplinary team of investigators at Forensic Architecture (Goldsmiths, University of London)
  • The ECtHR’s remedial practice, which also provided recommendations aimed at strengthening the implementation of judgments
  • The implementation of decisions issued by supranational human rights bodies (including several EHRAC cases) as co-Investigators in the ESRC-funded Human Rights Law Implementation Project (2015-2019). This informed efforts towards improving the implementation of judgments secured through EHRAC litigation
  • How parliamentary human rights bodies can strengthen their structures, working methods and underpinning principles.
  • Recommendations were disseminated in the form of a handbook to all parliamentarians who are delegates to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

The people involved at and beyond

Our research team consisted of Professor Philip Leach and Dr Alice Donald.

Their body of work included collaboration with research associates and investigators across disciplines in the UK and other European countries.

Read Strengthening Human Rights and the Rule of Law within the Council of Europe Region submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

Indigenous cultures are under threat of extinction because of the way development is being imposed on them, destroying their land and way of life. Despite some significant progress, many indigenous peoples are still not recognised by national governments. This presents enormous challenges to indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories, and resources. Likewise, minorities worldwide face exclusion, discrimination and denial of their fundamental economic, social and cultural rights.

We analysed international and comparative law for a comprehensive survey of discrimination against indigenous peoples and minorities. This work has had the following impacts:

  • Strengthened international and domestic legislation and policy frameworks
  • Reshaped aspects of human-rights based monitoring processes, including the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Influenced implementation of decisions of regional and national courts

The research behind it

This research has brought about significant impacts for minorities and indigenous peoples by:

  • Setting strategic institutional and policy directions and agendas - for example around recognition of the importance of the right to education for minorities and corporate respect for indigenous peoples’ rights
  • Shaping policy content and implementation– for example a strategic tool to gauge, develop and consolidate increased legal protection for groups in vulnerable positions in accordance with customary international law
  • Enabling implementation of remedies – for example advising on requests to guide implementation of the landmark Ogiek and Kalina & Lokono judgments of the African and Inter-American regional human rights courts

The people involved at and beyond

The research team includes Professor Joshua Castellino, Dr Elvira Domínguez-Redondo, and Dr Cathal Doyle.

Other organisations involved or implicated include UN human rights mechanisms, SOMO/The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Human Rights Institute, the Minority Rights Group and indigenous peoples’ organizations in Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Suriname and Kenya. We collaborated with litigating organisations in India, Argentina, Germany and Mexico, and with judiciaries and legislative assemblies in India, Morocco, Bangladesh, Venezuela and Europe.

Read Minorities, Indigenous Peoples and Vulnerable Groups: Defining International Standards, Shaping National Policy and Realizing Local Remedies submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

In recent years the EU has witnessed a significant breakdown in compliance with the rule of law. This research examined and documented these systematic and co-ordinated efforts by some national authorities to dismantle checks and balances and to establish one-party states, with a special focus on the situation in Hungary and Poland.

Our findings and recommendations into this urgent problem have been reflected, and even transposed directly, into legislative wording and judicial decision-making by European courts. They have been drawn on in the agenda-setting activity of policymakers, judicial networks, research bodies, think tanks, and civil society organisations. We have also contributed to shaping public opinion through coverage in broadcast media nationally and internationally and when adopted or contested by engaged online groups.

The research behind it

Professor Laurent Pech’s publications focus on the rule of law in Hungary and Poland. Dr Joelle Grogan has addressed the rule of law implications of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. With Dr Joseph Corkin, all were members of Reconnect, a H2020 consortium project between 2018 and 2022, and of which Pech was Principal Investigator of the work package dedicated to rule of law which included an award of nearly €320k to .

Through publications and consultancy and public engagement with professionals, Pech and Grogan’s research has:

  • Developed ways to diagnose rule of law breakdown through precise definition and analysis
  • Proposed instruments and other remedies to constrain and sanction systemic attacks on the rule of law where they occur
  • Defined the core and sub-components of the rule of law, used subsequently by both the Venice Commission and the European Commission

The people involved at and beyond

The research team includes Professor Laurent Pech and Dr Joelle Grogan. Their work has been cited and used by the European Parliament, European Court of Justice and EU Commission as well as courts in the Netherlands and Poland.

Read Challenging Rule of Law Backsliding in the European Union

Social Work and Social Policy

Social Work and Social Policy

This submission presented work carried out by researchers in the School of Law and the Departments of Criminology and Sociology; Mental Health and Social Work; Adult, Child and Midwifery; Psychology; and Marketing Enterprise and Tourism at . A total of 45 members of staff were involved in these four impact case studies, working in three research groups: Informing Professional Interventions; Crime, Conflict, and Human Security; and Social Justice, Inequality and Migration

The impact we achieved

Research undertaken at on criminal justice system responses to animal abuse and animal law enforcement has made a significant impact in two principal areas, dog-fighting and dangerous dogs, through:

  • Providing evidence that underpins proposed major policy and enforcement changes in animal law, criminal justice, and criminal behaviour policy presented to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Welsh Government and Scottish Government officials
  • Informing NGO policy initiatives and legislative campaigns. This includes those of the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), NGO policy forums and direct input into campaigns

The research behind it

Between 2013 and 2020, our research team conducted and published a stream of research on Animals and Society which focused on animal abuse and animal crime, investigating in particular how animal protection law and policy is affected by policy changes, including Brexit. The following three specific projects, undertaken between 2015 and 2020, have led to direct review of improvements in policy on dangerous dogs, developed best practice guidelines, and established links between animal abuse and human violence:

  • A detailed review of the current state of dog-fighting in the UK which analysed the effectiveness of current legislation and whose findings were presented to MPs and other League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) stakeholders as an evidence base for increased sentencing options for animal abuse offences, providing the basis for an NGO campaign aimed at changing the law
  • An analysis of the links between animal abuse and human violence, in collaboration with Northumbria University
  • A Review of the policy and policing approach around the dangerous dogs problem, with research funding from the Defra. Following examinations of the reasons why dog attacks continue to be a problem and whether irresponsible dog ownership was a cause, our review identified shortcomings and provided evidence-based recommendations for policy and enforcement changes

The people involved at and beyond

The research team included Dr Angus Nurse, Dr Carly Guest, Dr Lilian Miles, and Dr Simon Harding.

One of the underpinning research projects was carried out in collaboration with Professor Tanya Wyatt (Northumbria University).

Read Animals & Society: Introducing a Green Criminological Dimension to Public Policy submission (PDF)


The impact we achieved 

Cultural competence is the ability to respond effectively to people from different cultures and backgrounds, resulting in the delivery of services that meet the cultural and communication needs of patients. It is seen as crucial for high quality, patient and client-centred care. Professor Irena Papadopoulos and colleague have created the content, models and guidelines for a culturally competent robot, and collaborated with partners who enabled the software’s application and operationalisation. The key impacts of our research are on:

  • Practice and education, through adoption of our cultural competence model as best practice by educators across Europe
  • Public and policy awareness, by starting a new level of parliamentary and public debate about responsible technology and novel possibilities in the use of artificially intelligent socially assistive humanoid robots in caring roles
  • Industry, by making available on open access our reports which contain all processes and outputs for the development of a culturally competent socially assistive robots. The CARESSES trial and evaluation has shown that care home participants who interacted with CARESSES culturally competent robots experienced improved mental health and reduced loneliness compared to those who interacting with robots lacking this programming

The research behind it 

The open-source documents and software that details the framework and content for cultural knowledge representation, and for culturally sensitive planning and execution, on the part of the CARESSES humanoid socially assistive robot is underpinned by 25 years  research by the ’s Research Centre for Transcultural Studies in Health, headed by Professor Papadopoulos into cultural competence in healthcare and education delivery, including:

  • Development, and its later enhancement, of the Papadopoulos, Tilki and Taylor model for cultural competence (Papadopoulos I et al (1998) and Papadopoulos I (2006)). The model was the basis of the
  • Intercultural Education for Nurses in Europe (IENE) programme of education – established by Professor Papadopoulos in 2008 and receiving since EU funding for ten projects – benefitting educators and learners in 24 participating institutions across 16 European countries
  • Data gathering from three cultural groups resulting in the production of theoretical models enabling robots to understand and learn about an individual’s cultural identity, while ensuring that they are able to assess, act and review actions without stereotyping

The people involved at and beyond 

The research team was led by Professor Rena Papadopoulos and assisted by Dr Christina Koulouglioti.

CARESSES was undertaken by a multi-disciplinary research team comprising , the University of Bedfordshire, the University of Genoa (Italy) and Örebro University (Sweden). Three Japanese universities (Nagoya, Chubu and Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and two EU-based commercial companies (SOFTBANK robotics and ADVINIA) were also involved.

Read Cultural Competence and Client Centred Care: The CARESSES Project: Enabling the Development of ‘Culturally Competent’ Artificially Intelligent Socially Assistive Humanoid Robots submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

This case study’s research findings and recommendations have informed important legislative, policy, education and policing changes relating to children and young people across the UK, as well as police practice and training for  front line practitioners internationally. The project’s key impacts include:

  • A new statutory requirement to teach relationships and sex education in all secondary schools with concomitant guidance and a public consultation on how to implement the duty
  • A significant contribution, through training, to the way officers perceive, understand and police online child sexual abuse
    New guidance from the information Commissioner’s office designed to deliver ‘safety by design’
  • A child sexual abuse offending typology
  • A new statutory requirement (the Online Safety Bill 2022), which promises new measures, to allow internet users more control over who can contact them and what they see online, and requires all websites that publish or host pornography to verify their users are over 18

The research behind it

Our research team investigated how internet access may compound risks children face that, if unmanaged, could undermine their wellbeing. Their work also highlighted gaps in policing practice, and differences in risk of solicitation across adolescents and received extensive national and international media coverage for providing the first incontrovertible evidence that viewing pornography affects the behaviour of young people. These impacts result from research focusing on the online exploitation of children and their exposure to harmful content, including on:

  • Criminal justice system responses to intra-familial child sexual abuse and the impacts on children and young people, both of exploitation and how authorities have responded
  • Policing practice tackling online child sexual abuse across the UK, Netherlands, Italy and Ireland, as well as victims’ experience of being solicited and groomed online
  • Key performance indicators and desired outcomes in safeguarding cyberspace from indecent images of children
  • New typology of offending behaviours related to child sexual abuse
    Implications for men’s attitudes towards women, sexual aggression, and the mainstreaming of dangerous sexism
  • The impacts of pornography on children and young people

The people involved at

Our research team included Dr Elena Martellozzo, Professor Miranda Horvath, Dr Jeffrey DeMarco, Professor Joanna Adler, Professor Julia Davidson, Dr Anna Gekoski, Dr Rodolfo Leyva, and Dr Andy Monaghan.

Read Improving Children’s Digital Experiences and Reducing Real-World Exploitation submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

The Exchanging Prevention practices on Polydrug use among youth In Criminal justice systems (EPPIC) project addressed the research gap in drugs prevention policy and practice in relation to young people (aged 14-25) in contact with the criminal justice system (CJS). Bringing together expertise from academics and practitioners in the UK and abroad, the project has provided new insights into drug use among young people in the criminal justice system and new tools for practitioners to enable more effective engagement of young people in interventions and more effective service responses. Its main impacts, with focus on the contribution, are:

  • Production of Quality Standards (QS) in six European countries which have informed workforce learning, training, and development of ‘best practice’ among practitioners working in the CJS, substance use services, and youth services. In the UK, the project initiated further development of the QS to implement in service delivery
  • Development of guidelines/best practice on ‘engagement’ for UK practitioners – leading to changes within partner services in how practitioners develop relationships and engage with young people
    Improvements in approaches to young clients and development of ‘good practice’ resulting from knowledge exchange between stakeholders (practitioners, researchers, others)
  • Creation of new networks between different stakeholders both nationally and within participating project countries
  • Evidence to support re-conceptualisation and review of policy and service development

The research behind it

The project’s development is underpinned by findings from studies undertaken by the research team since 2007 on risk and prevention, substance use among marginalised groups and young people, and the interface between substance use and the CJS. involvement in seven cross-national European research projects and collaborative networks between 2005 and 2016 had provided the necessary infrastructure, partnerships, and knowledge to lead on and deliver EPPIC from January 2017.

The research team addressed the lack of prior research in the area by:

  • Gathering knowledge and exchanging best practice on interventions to prevent illicit drug use/polydrug use among young people in touch with the CJS
  • Developing a set of QS based on the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards, adapted to initiatives aimed at the target group (available in English, German, Italian and Polish)
  • Initiating an international knowledge exchange network for practitioners and stakeholders working with young people in the CJS
  • Based on the research findings, and through consultation with the above network, we co-produced the ‘Handbook on Quality Standards for Interventions aimed at Drug Experienced Young People in contact with Criminal Justice Systems’. We also created further guidance for practitioners and a wider set of priority recommendations relevant to policy makers and planners

The people involved at and beyond

Our research team consists of Professor Betsy Thom, Professor Karen Duke, Dr Rachel Herring , and Dr Helen Gleeson from the Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at .

The broad international knowledge exchange network which we initiated, brought together experts from across the UK national third sector service providers (including Home Office and Public Health England), EU institutions (including from European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and European Commission), and international institutions (e.g. the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and WHO).

Read Drug Interventions for Young People in Contact with the Criminal Justice System: Transforming Practice Among Practitioners submission (PDF)



This submission presented work carried out by 16 members of staff in the Department of Education at .

The impact we achieved

The Prevent policy is primarily a security policy to counter extremism and terrorism, but it has also been translated into education and other services. researchers in Education have developed a robust argument for framing the Prevent policy in more explicitly educational terms and have contributed evidence that schools can engage productively with critical exploration of British values in the context of citizenship education rather than the ‘promotion’ of values and surveillance of young people. This approach was supported by national teacher organisations and has now been endorsed by the Department for Education through their funding and recognised in Ofsted inspections, indicating a shift in focus. Further, it has reached hundreds of teachers and has proven to have a beneficial impact in engaging students in critical citizenship education.

The research behind it

Empirical work shows that teachers have largely implemented Prevent as a safeguarding policy and commonly teach the fundamental British Values’ (FBVs) uncritically. Our research team has worked collaboratively with external partners to shift the discourse towards critical citizenship education and treating Prevent as a controversial issue in the classroom, with impact resulting from work including:

  • Discussions with the national professional organisation bodies which identified a sense of unease among practitioners about the duty to ‘promote’ the FBVs, rather than engage in critical discussion. researchers undertook a literature review to help write guidance for teachers and school leaders incorporating a set of pedagogic principles that would help teachers frame their teaching about Prevent as a controversial issue
  • Evaluation of the locally responsive curriculum development project Building Resilience which enacted the Prevent policy in ten schools – our study was the first to combine data in relation to students, staff and the curriculum
  • Research into how student teachers engaged in teaching about British values, and into the impact of the policy on student teachers and the teachers with whom they work
  • researchers worked with partners to develop lesson resources to promote classroom deliberation about the FBVs. This ‘Deliberative Classroom’ project was funded by the DfE and a research project, funded by the British Academy, analysed the quality of students’ deliberative conversations

The people involved at and beyond

Our research team included Dr Lee Jerome, Dr Linda Whitworth, Dr Alex Elwick and Raza Kazim. Colleagues have worked with schools and a range of professional bodies including the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT), the Expert Subject Advisory Group for Citizenship (ESAG) and the English Speaking Union (ESU).

Read Establishing a Critical Educational Response to the Prevent Duty in Schools submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

Gender stereotyping in schools is a longstanding problem which has serious implications for pupil confidence, academic attainment, emotional intelligence, behaviour and later life outcomes. Professor Jayne Osgood has consistently informed teachers and school leaders who are keen to address discriminatory practices in school through research to support interventions that directly challenge gender stereotyping in schools. Her research has made the following impact:

  • Directly informing public debate, through the direction of a two-part BAFTA-winning BBC Documentary Series, which aired in 2017 and raised awareness of the issue among millions of viewers in the UK and internationally
  • Changing educational practice, by informing teaching practice through whole school interventions and individual teacher approaches across the UK
  • Benefitting children and parents through increased awareness and debate

The research behind it

Professor Osgood was expert consultant for the development of a two-part Documentary Series for the BBC concerning gender stereotyping in primary schools. From the original design of the programme through to final airing, Professor Osgood provided expert direction to the production team on the development and execution of specific interventions and experiments to tackle gender stereotyping, and on essential resources. Her expertise and insights were underpinned by her research outputs on gender and childhood since 2007, including:

  • A research-based handbook with schedules designed to help schools address gender equality issues through reviewing practice, tackling inequalities and monitoring outcomes to meet statutory obligations
  • A series of research projects on gender for national and international bodies
  • Key research publications providing teachers and early years educators practical guidance on how to address gender issues in the classroom and work towards greater equity

The people involved at and beyond

Research at was undertaken by Professor Jayne Osgood. For the documentary, Professor Osgood worked with Outline Productions, a TV production company commissioned by the BBC, and teachers and pupils in the participating primary school.

Read Tackling Gender Stereotyping in Childhood: Research to Support Gender Neutral Schooling submission (PDF)

Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism

Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism

This submission presented work carried out by researchers in the London Sports Institute (LSI) and the Departments of Natural Sciences; and Design Engineering and Mathematics at . A total of 10 researchers were involved across three research groups: Performance Analysis; Strength & Conditioning; and Physical and Mental Health.

The impact we achieved

Our research on athletic development in fencing has challenged traditional practices through a research- and evidence-based ideology. Working closely with coaches and athletes from GBR fencing, Dr Turner’s research has spurred improvements in performance, preparation, and coaching in fencing, as well as influenced physical training in other sports, around the world. The key impacts include:

  • Physical preparation guidelines and testing battery, which contributed to Team GB athletes’ unprecedented achievements in the most prestigious international competitions, leading to the subsequent adoption of these fitness benchmarks by several other national fencing teams (e.g., Denmark, Sweden, Qatar, and Canada)
  • Total Score of Athleticism – a physical profiling system which informed the selection of fencers and their funding, and is now used globally across multiple sports, including the NFL, British Army, soccer, NATO, and the English National Ballet, as well as being incorporated into performance analysis software such as that used by Hawkin Dynamics
  • Curriculum changes to coach education programmes and manuals from grass roots to elite level, moving from teaching the traditional understanding of fencing physical preparation, to that based on Dr Turner’s research

The research behind it

Research on elite athletes is inherently difficult. Athletes and their coaches are generally hesitant to participate in research due to reluctance to change their normal training, as changes can often contradict the traditional approaches they have used. Dr Turner overcame this by undertaking a series of graduated studies, from observational analysis through to gathering data from athletes during live international competitions, and finally requiring athletes to deliberately change their practice. More specifically, the impact of this case study is underpinned by research on the:

  • Physical characteristics enabling fundamental skills in fencing, which helped establish an evidence-based training system, the validation of a new agility test, and provided athlete benchmarks across the sport
  • Lunge and how athletes can develop it to improve speed and distance when attacking and retreating
  • Physiological demands of international competitions, gathered while working with the GBR Olympic fencing team preparing for the Rio Olympics. These studies were the first to analyse a range of health and performance data from athletes during highly-pressured environments – providing invaluable information, resulting in the validation of fitness testing and training designed around competition-based data

The people involved at and beyond

The research work was led by Dr Anthony Turner, in close collaboration with coaches and athletes from GBR fencing.

Read The Physical Preparation of GBR Fencers for the 2016 Rio Olympics and Beyond submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

Small changes in elite performance can have dramatic effects and attention to fine detail is crucial to making champions. Informed by science, performance analysts enhance elite coaches’ decisions by presenting performance visually, highlighting patterns and providing systematic reviews of opponents and other performance-related insight. Our performance analysis-based research findings resulted in improved preparation and performance of athletes competing at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games, 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth games, and the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups.

We achieved this impact through the:

  • Development of more accurate performance profiles of opponents and greater tactical planning
  • Introduction of training adaptations to improve performance
  • Improvements in communication between coaches and performance analysts

The research behind it

Impact has resulted from the introduction of performance analysis interventions that have changed behaviour in elite sport practice. It has been achieved through working in close collaboration with several elite sports organisations and players nationally and internationally, including England National squash squads and elite players, UK Sport, and High Performance Sport New Zealand. Research findings were also utilised by GB Olympic and Paralympic teams, through further advisory work with individual analysts and the delivery of specific workshops. Our researchers produced knowledge through projects which:

  • Resulted in a new methodology for data capture in squash, providing situationally specific information related to playing patterns. This is also applicable to and used in other sports, including dance and football and has, following further development, culminated in a better understanding of the factors affecting decision-making
  • Determined the extent to which tactical shot selections vary within players as a consequence of the standard of their opponent
    Studied different Olympic and Paralympic sports (including cycling, para swimming, gymnastics, judo, wheelchair rugby, modern pentathlon, and sailing) through the development of consultancy services for the English Institute of Sport (EIS), Ireland Rugby Union team, Lawn Tennis Association and Leicester City FC
  • Evaluated “what” the performance analysts working for the EIS were delivering to GB Olympic and Paralympic coaches, highlighting the importance of understanding the communication processes between analyst and coach, particularly during coach planning sessions
  • Identified best practice for dissemination and the effectiveness of the performance analysis delivery

The people involved at and beyond

Professor Nic James led on this body of research, parts of which were undertaken in collaboration with researchers in the UK and abroad.

Read Changed Behaviour in Elite Sport Practice through Performance Analysis Interventions submission (PDF)

Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory

This submission presented work carried out by researchers in the Department of Design and the Deparment of Visual Arts at . A total of 42 members of staff were involved in these case studies, working in eight research groups: Making Places; Art Practice as Investigation; CREATE – Feminisms; Diasporic and Transcultural Practices; Animation, Electronic and Digital Arts; Science Fiction Research Cluster; Socially Engaged Practices; Visual and Material Cultures and Curating.

The impact we achieved 

Professor Jon Bird is recognised as the leading authority on the art of Leon Golub. Through collaboration with the museum and gallery sector, Professor Bird’s research has made the following impact:

  • Extended awareness and appreciation of Golub’s painting to a global audience through contributing to Golub retrospectives at London’s Serpentine Gallery; The Met Breuer, New York; and Fondazione Prada, Milan
  • Provided written evidence and expert testimonial relating to Golub’s work in an American civil art fraud case, which influenced the commercial art world
  • Enhanced understanding of Golub’s significance as a history painter addressing issues of power, identity and the body relevant to the present, through curating exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery and Hauser & Wirth, London

The research behind it 

The impact is a result of the wide reach and significance of Professor Bird’s work, which is evident in the high profile of the museums and galleries he has worked with, as well as the critical reception, media coverage and audience figures for the exhibitions he has curated and written for. This is underpinned by sustained research commencing in the 1980s and continuing to the present day whose results include:

  • Examination of issues dealt in Golub’s work, explored in the critical monograph Leon Golub: Echoes of the Real (Reaktion Books, 2000) and in a Retrospective exhibition curated by Professor Bird which was presented in four galleries and museums in the UK, Republic of Ireland, and USA
  • Revision of Professor Bird's 2000 book, with a new focus resulting in an expanded edition in 2011
  • Curation of a retrospective exhibition for Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, and the accompanying catalogue, whose discourse analysed the major themes of the artist’s work and the stylistic transformations of his practice through the decades
  • Contribution to a 2015 Golub exhibition catalogue with an essay drawing on personal diaries and recorded interviews which Professor Bird conducted with the artist over a twenty-year period, as well as contribution of a chapter to a 2016 Golub exhibition catalogue
  • Curation of London’s National Portrait Gallery 2016 exhibition of Golub’s work and of accompanying edited book

The people involved at and beyond

This research project was undertaken by Professor Jon Bird. His work was enriched by his long-term working relationship with Leon Golub.

Read Curating Leon Golub: Extending Global Understanding of Golub’s Art, Benefitting the Museum and Gallery Sector, Arts Audiences and the Commercial Art World submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

Active Energy originated in 2007 as an arts-based response to research that the highlighted the exclusion of older people from technological development. The project is a long-term partnership with The Geezers, an East London senior men’s group, to harness community initiative and use participatory arts practice to access locally held knowledge to create social and environmental change. It has resulted in the design and realisation of engineered solutions which utilise tidal power to produce low cost, clean energy.

The key impacts of the research are:

  • Increased learning and participation through activating The Geezers’ life experience, culminative skills and knowledge to rethink technologies and better support themselves, their community and the environment
  • Enhanced wellbeing for participants through increased confidence, self-esteem and sense of purpose
  • Improved understanding by developing new narratives around water conservation in communities in water-scarce Rajasthan, India

The research behind it

The underpinning research by Dr Loraine Leeson focuses on the role of art in social and environmental change through bringing community-based knowledge into the public domain.

The ongoing Active Energy partnership with the Geezers has designed a low cost turbine for the River Thames, worked with young people in a local school on a wind turbine, collaborated with a seniors’ group in Pittsburgh, contributed to three University research projects and produced floating water wheels to keep fish alive when pollution levels rise, the last installed in 2019 in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Leeson has also used this community-based arts approach to promote traditional solutions to water scarcity in Rajasthan, India’s driest state.

The people involved at and beyond

Dr Loraine Leeson led the research at working with AgeUK in Bow and Bow schools. Dr Leeson also engaged with a major gallery in the US, and collaborated with researchers at the University of the West of England and NGOs in India.

Read Active Energy: Community Action Through the Arts submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

The Suffolk coast is particularly vulnerable to change. A shift in weather patterns in tandem with a rise in mean sea level has accelerated the loss of property through coastal erosion and increased the frequency of flooding due to surge tide events. Our research has addressed the urgent need to reconfigure the local community’s relationship with their landscape by generating an integrated approach to landscape decision making for stakeholder communities which had an impact on:

  • Policy, resulting in a new, more inclusive way of managing the Deben Estuary, Suffolk
  • Coastal landscape, resulting in the protection and restoration projects for the area’s saltmarsh habitat, of which the Deben Estuary holds 40%, benefitting coastal protection, intertidal habitat, fisheries, carbon storage, the marine industries and landscape character

The research behind it

Associate Professor of Fine Art, Simon Read, contributed to the efficacy of environmental policy and community uptake by developing an inclusive, multi-disciplinary approach to estuarine and coastal management. This approach brought together the cultural, scientific and policy communities, balancing cultural and emotional attachment to landscape and the economic stability of communities, with the need for flood risk management and habitat protection. The impact achieved was underpinned by art practice-led research within collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships across two strands of enquiry:

  • Examination of flood risk management policy, through mapping exercises rendering combinations of data often inaccessible outside of the scientific community as a rich and accessible experience, equipping local communities to participate more effectively in understanding the governance process (1999-2009). This was followed by a series of drawings (2010) and, more recently, CoastWEB, an interdisciplinary study of the value of saltmarsh on the West Coast of Wales (2017-2020), and Deben Soundings, a project in collaboration with UCL and the Deben Estuary Partnership (2020-2022) aimed at broadening the range of community engagement in the estuary management process informed by a new map of the estuary, and a new series of maps exploring the evolution of the estuary entrance and its prognosis for the future
  • Development of soft engineered landscape interventions for degraded saltmarsh sites, using sustainable resources and voluntary community labour and skills. Associate Professor Read designed The Falkenham Saltmarsh Tidal Management Scheme, completed in 2014, which lowered the impact of tidal flow into the marsh, reduced erosion, and raised sediment levels – essential for the recolonization of saltmarsh vegetation and its restoration. Since 2014, he has worked collaboratively with Suffolk Yacht Harbour on the Orwell Estuary to manage its annual dredging scheme to supplement and create new saltmarsh sites adjacent to the harbour

The people involved at and beyond

This research was undertaken by Dr Simon Read.

Parts of the project were a result of his collaboration with a range of partners, including universities (e.g. Cardiff University, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UCL, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Bangor), community stakeholders groups (e.g. Deben Estuary Partnership), local authority (e.g. East Suffolk Council), industry, and statutory agencies (e.g. Environment Agency, Suffolk Yacht Harbour, Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Unit).

Read The process and the product: Discreet partnerships and the cultural dimension in effective landscape governance submission (PDF)



Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film, Screen

Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies

This submission presented work carried out by 32 members of staff in the Departments of Performing Arts and Media at .

The impact we achieved

For over ten years the research has crossed contested histories and political and cultural borders bringing together over 300 participants to engage in creative processes, performances, conferences and forums. Forty-five new dance works have been created reaching over 9,000 audience members and over 38,000 people online. In one of world’s most sensitive geopolitical and militarised zones, Professor Christopher Bannerman worked with Beijing and Taipei colleagues to lead the Intercultural Dialogic Exchange research project and artistic collaboration that brought together creatives to stimulate dialogue and change.

The impact in mainland China was:

  • Institutional with changes in the curricula and teaching styles in China’s leading dance academies
  • Widely influential through involving some of the most significant and highly regarded dance artists in China
  • Sector-wide by enhancing capacity in the arts through professional development for writers and producers

The research behind it

In 2009, the research partnership began between ResCen Research Centre, and Beijing Dance Academy. With funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2011, the Taipei National University of the Arts joined and the exchange developed new understandings and insights by weaving together perspectives from practice and theory to initiate an intercultural dialogic exchange in, about and through artistic practices.

Key aspects of the project included:

  • Intensive three to four-week performance projects for exchange and collaboration between Anglophone and Sinophone artists, academics and producers
  • The curation of sustained spaces for dialogic exchange and active engagement between diverse and/or divided community/ies
    The first dedicated edition of Choreographic Practices published in English and Chinese in 2016

The people involved at and beyond

At , Professor Christopher Bannerman was London Curator and Director alongside Beijing Curators and Directors Professors GUO Lei and XU Rui, President and Vice President respectively of Beijing Dance Academy and Taipei Curator and Director WANG Yunyu, Taipei National University of the Arts.

The research team included Dr Ola Johansson, Dr Alexandra Kolb, Professor Vida Midgelow, and Dr Stefanie Sachsenmaier from ; Martin Welton, Queen Mary University of London, and Rebecca Loukes, University of Exeter, with additional researchers from Beijing and Taipei.

Read Inter/Transcultural Dialogic Exchange (IDE): Making Change Across Political and Cultural Borders Through Artistic Collaboration submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

Created, produced and written by Dr James Kenworth, and directed by Dr James Martin Charlton, both long-term residents of Newham, the Newham Plays are a series of localist-focused plays rooted in Newham’s history, culture and people. Performed in site-sympathetic locations in Newham, East London, they feature a ‘mixed economy’ casting of young people and professional actors. The series, which contributed to addressing historically low levels of cultural engagement in the Borough, has originated a Pro-Localist approach to cultural engagement, in which the plays are partnered and supported by local funders, partners and stakeholders. Its key impact includes:

  • Developing skills, building confidence and boosting self-belief of over 250 young people from diverse backgrounds living in Newham
  • Benefiting local organisations, raising awareness of Newham’s sites/venues and the heritage of the Borough, and enhancing cultural provision

The research behind it

The London Borough of Newham (population 353,134) experiences significant economic and social challenges, including poverty affecting one in two children and cultural engagement significantly below the national average. contributed to redressing this problem by contending that a localist and grassroots approach is the most effective way to widen access to the arts, and by arguing for an increased emphasis on performance in local spaces rather than in prestige or heritage theatres.

Our impact is underpinned by a coherent body of research practice and engagement resulting from the Newham Plays – a series of four plays developed through our Department of Media’s collaboration with the community of Newham between 2012 and 2019 (only the three most recent plays were submitted to REF 2021). Through our successful, long-term partnership with three local schools, we helped approximately 250 young people from diverse backgrounds, such as Asian, Black, African, Caribbean or Black British, to develop skills and self-belief by acting in the shows and partaking in a range of associated activities. Working with schools’ drama teachers, we identified talented and enthusiastic pupils, and ran auditions and workshops as part of their drama classes. Crucially, after each show we offered a series of free drama workshops which engaged pupils in an exploration of the plays’ themes and issues.

The people involved at and beyond

Our research team comprises Dr James Martin Charlton and Dr James Kenworth.

Their three plays submitted were partnered and supported by local grassroots organizations and charities The Royal Docks Trust, Community Links, and Ambition, Aspire, Achieve. The plays were delivered in collaboration with Gallions Primary School, Kingsford Community School, and Royal Docks Academy.

Read The Newham Plays: Enhancing Cultural Provision, Developing Young People’s Talent/Skills, and Benefiting Local Organisations Through Pro-Localist, Site-Local, New Writing submission (PDF)

The impact we achieved

Research undertaken at by Professor Vida Midgelow has changed the way movement artists and teachers undertake and facilitate creative practices, increasing their understanding and confidence. Her work has revealed gaps in awareness and provision of Artistic Research in Doctoral Education, identifying a need for a co-ordinated approach across academic and arts sectors. The impact was generated on three key areas:

  • Creative practice – by enabling dance practitioners to appropriately articulate their embodied practice, such that they have the skills to recognise, reflect and communicate movement and choreographic processes
  • Provisions for Artistic Doctoral Research – by offering enhanced connectivity, opportunities and mobility for candidates and by influencing the delivery and development of artistic doctoral degrees
  • Arts Sector thinking and practice – by increasing awareness of artistic research/doctorates, and their value, and challenging perceptions and practices

The research behind it

This research has benefited dance artists, students and teachers, arts organisations and universities in the UK, Finland, Ireland, and Sweden. Professor Midgelow has transformed creative practice and university education by advancing both the conceptualisation of practice in the sphere of postgraduate pedagogy and its application and dissemination in academic and non-academic contexts. This provided processes, benchmarks and an aspiration in respect of what constitutes rigorous practice procedures and effective environments.

More specifically, impact was underpinned by research:

  • In the field of practice-as-research (PaR), which led to the development of the ‘Creative Articulations Process’ (CAP), in collaboration with Professor Jane Bacon (University of Chichester). CAP is a method which enhances creativity, offering an embodied framework in support of self-reflexive artistic enquiries
  • In the undertaking and supporting of PaR within the frame of a doctorate, an area previously neglected by researchers. To address this research gap, Dr Midgelow established ‘Artistic Doctorates in Europe’ (ADiE), an Erasmus+-funded research collaboration between universities and arts and dance organisations in the UK, Sweden and Finland. ADiE research offered insights and guidance to candidates and supervisors, proposing a creative, co-relational process and incorporating partners beyond academia in the development of ‘third spaces’ for doctoral engagement

The people involved at and beyond

Professor Vida Midgelow undertook this research, in collaboration at different stages of her work with academia and industry in the UK and abroad, including key partner Dance4.

Read Advancing Movement Practices in Doctoral and Professional Contexts submission (PDF)

Comms, Cultural/Media Studies, Library/Info Mgmt

Overview of Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management

This submission presented work carried out by 20 members of staff in the Departments of Media; Performing Arts; and Criminology and Sociology at .

The impact we achieved 

Despite increasing emphasis on online access in the public and private sphere, the digital divide is widening, with 52% of the workforce (17.2 million) lacking essential digital skills for work (Lloyds Digital Index, 2020). research has used creativity to provide an adaptable model for effective and future-proofing digital upskilling which has made the following impact:

  • Influenced development of qualifications by OCN London (particularly their Essential Digital Skills Qualifications) and the Royal College of Nursing’s Learning and Development Pathway for their Representatives
  • Resulted in new methods for generating and capturing ‘backlist’ sales in publishing
  • Changed perceptions of digital exclusion and influenced practice in charities and NGOs
  • Influenced policy thinking within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) via membership of its Digital Skills and Inclusion Working Group (DSIWG)
  • Enabled professional writers to advance their digital practice

The research behind it 

Change in the digital sphere is rapid, and equipment and discrete digital skills can quickly become obsolete. However, digital upskilling largely centres on provision of online access, equipment and/or technical training. Undertaken by Dr Josie Barnard, our research has identified that this approach alongside entrenched assumptions of ‘digital natives’ were inhibiting progress in enabling digital skills acquisition. Its impact is underpinned by the following research projects, located within writing practice, which analysed problems of ‘digital exclusion’ and provided solutions to digital skills acquisition with an emphasis on creativity and humanisation:

  • A submission to a House of Commons’ Culture Media and Sport Select Committee report Supporting which identified creative flexibility as key to providing ‘future-proofing’ digital upskilling
  • Pedagogical pilots using Twitter which considered and empirically tested the notion of ‘digital natives’ and if creative thinking and social media skills could be taught
    Research on how so-called ‘digital natives’ could re-purpose existing leisure-time digital skills for use in employment and learning contexts
  • A set of assignments which focused on using learners’ inner resources to tackle digital challenges, including repurposing of existing skills, having ‘in person’ support, using senses and emotion, and deploying familiar ‘old’ technology (e.g. pencils) to build confidence
  • A BBC Radio 4 documentary Digital Future: The New Underclass which further examined the humanisation of digital skills acquisition and barriers to learning through a combination of statistics and interviews with digitally excluded citizens
  • The Multimodal Writer – a ‘model of creativity’ comprising ‘writerly resources’, ‘writerly personas’, ‘expert intuition’, ‘inner auteur’ and ‘creative projects’, which can be personalised by each user and applied to digital challenges according to need

The people involved

Research at was undertaken by Dr Josie Barnard.

Read Bridging the Digital Divide: Creativity Research Resulting in Digital Upskilling submission (PDF)


The impact we achieved

This research looked at the potential opportunities and challenges which blockchain technology offers the music industry. The work by our Blockchain for the Creative Industries cluster led to the report ‘Music on the Blockchain’ acclaimed as “the most in-depth look so far at how the music industry can benefit from blockchain technology”.

Impacts of the report across the music sector included:

  • Informing understanding and shaping debate on the music industry in the UK
  • Enabling international awareness of Britain’s creative industries
  • Informing UK government policy on data management
  • Influencing decision-making on the use of blockchain
  • Inspiring innovation and new blockchain initiatives

Beneficiaries have included creators, digital entrepreneurs, incumbent music businesses and governmental authorities

The research behind it

Our researchers considered where blockchain could be transformative for the music industry, as well as highlighting barriers to adoption, and some disadvantages. They worked in an interdisciplinary way and in partnership with music industry professionals.

We identified four areas where blockchain technology has potential for the music industry:

  • Providing a networked database for music copyright information
  • Facilitating fast, frictionless royalty payments
  • Offering contractual transparency
  • Providing access to alternative sources of capital for artists

These research findings were communicated so that all potential adopters and sponsors of the technology could use and understand them

The people involved at and beyond

The research team included Marcus O’Dair, Dr Richard Osborne and Dr Zuleika Beaven.

The team worked with David Neilson, a computer scientist at , Paul Pacifico then CEO of the music industry trade body Featured Artists Coalition, and Nick Mason, the drummer with Pink Floyd.

Read Blockchain and the Creative Industries: Investigating, Demystifying and Promoting the Uses of Distributed Ledger Technology submission (PDF)

About REF 2021

REF 2021

The  is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

The REF was first carried out in 2014, replacing the previous Research Assessment Exercise. The most recent REF exercise was conducted in 2021, with the results announced in May 2022.

The REF is jointly undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies: Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE). It is managed by the REF team, based at Research England, and a steering group from the four funding bodies.

The results of REF 2021 have reported on the quality of our research and will inform the selective allocation of funding for research. has entered all eligible staff to REF 2021, in line with our commitment to an inclusive research environment and building on the success and strengths of our REF 2014 submission.

What is the REF's purpose?

The funding bodies’ shared policy aim for research assessment is to secure the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within UK higher education. They expect that this will be achieved through the threefold purpose of the REF:

  • To provide accountability for public investment in research and produce evidence of the benefits of this investment
  • To provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks, for use within the HE sector and for public information
  • To inform the selective allocation of funding for research.

How is the REF carried out?

The REF is a , carried out by expert panels for each of the 34 (UoAs), under the guidance of four main panels. Each UoA covers a subject area and may span more than one discipline. Expert panels are made up of senior academics, international members, and research users.

For each submission, three distinct elements are assessed: the quality of outputs (e.g. publications, performances, and exhibitions), their impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research.

Our REF Code of Practice (COP) sets out our decision-making processes for the fair, open and transparent selection of staff and associated outputs in the context of the principles of equality and diversity, and all relevant legislation. Our COP also shows how all staff employed on academic contracts (teaching and research route, Senior Manager Academic or research only) on the REF census date (31 July 2020) who satisfied  the REF 2021 criteria for inclusion have been submitted.

We appointed Unit of Assessment (UoA) coordinators across the University, and the work of preparing our submission was carried out by inclusive University Panels, Faculty Committees, and UoA Working Groups.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of everything we do at – including the conduct of our research – and the University has sought to ensure that characteristics of our REF 2021 submission and overall academic staffing profile reflect this.

As we prepared for REF 2021 we established a University REF Equality and Diversity Panel, chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Diversity), whose considerations follow University policy closely. All staff involved in REF committees, panels and working groups have completed mandatory training in equality, as well as further training for the purposes of REF 2021, including unconscious bias training for all staff involved in decision making.

Find out more about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at

See our Equality and Diversity policy

Declaration of Individual Staff Circumstances

Our Declaration of Individual Staff Circumstances was sent to all staff whose outputs were eligible for submission to REF2021 (see ‘Guidance on submissions’, paragraphs 117-122). Committed to supporting equality and diversity in REF, we have put in place safe and supportive structures for staff to declare information about any equality-related circumstances that may have affected their ability to conduct their research productively during the assessment period (1 January 2014 – 31 July 2020).

Staff consultation on our Code of Practice

All academic colleagues were invited to a series of lunchtime consultation sessions on our Code of Practice in May 2019. Staff who were unable to attend were invited to raise questions or make suggestions on how our Draft Code of Practice could be improved directly to the Director of Research or their Faculty’s Deputy Dean for Research. Following this consultation, the Draft Code of Practice was then submitted to Academic Board for approval in June 2019.

Research integrity underpins all research activity. We are committed to the Concordat to Support Research Integrity, the principles of which are a key feature of our Code of Practice for Research, itself periodically reviewed along with theEthics Policy Framework (reviewed in 2014 and 2019).

The Director of Research reports annually on research integrity to the Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee (RKEC), which then reports to the Academic Board. This includes a review of cases of academic misconduct (investigations organised by Registry), Ethics Committee case work, training on research integrity/ethics, lessons learned and proposed actions for the coming year.

We train and support our researchers on academic and research integrity through our Researcher Development Programme of face-to-face workshops, and an online Academic Integrity Awareness Course – compulsory for newly joined staff.

Find out more about our research integrity

The REF 2021 Privacy Notice explains what personal information the University holds in relation to the REF 2021 exercise, detailing why we hold this information, what we do with it, how long we keep it for and if we share it with third parties.

This covers:

  • Current employees (employed during the REF assessment period) who are considered to be REF-eligible individuals with a primary employment function of “Teaching & Research” and may include staff with a primary employment function of “Research only”
  • Former employees (employed during the REF assessment period) who were REF-eligible at the time of ceasing employment and who have research outputs that were generated while they were employed at the University during the REF assessment period
  • Individuals who are not employed by the University but whose contract or job role includes the undertaking of research primarily focused at the University during the REF assessment period or who are not employed by the University but who have provided testimonials concerning the development of impact case studies in relation to the University’s preparations for the REF 2021 exercise.

REF 2021 Privacy Notice

See also:  Public Policy Statements

Making research publications open for public access – 'Open Access' publications – enables anyone with an internet connection to read them (free of charge) and also potentially enables their re-use (with appropriate contribution).

We encourage all of our researchers to deposit publications 'on acceptance' in the  in line with the University’s Open Access Publications Policy. The University supports its staff to make their research data accessible too, and the University participated in a lively pilot project on the extension of ‘open data’ and data curation in research.

REF has produced a number of publications to set out the rules for submission and provide guidance to universities, the most important of which include:

  •  – this should be read alongside the , which includes revised submission arrangements
  •  – this should be read alongside the , which includes revised submission arrangements

Revisions in response to COVID-19

The guidance in the above three documents has been revised in response to the effects of COVID-19. For more information, please refer to the Guidance on revisions to REF 2021 (REF 2020/02). An overview of all changes to timeframes, along with additional published guidance and details of contingency plans for REF 2021 is available on .