Top marks for Bath Spa University in prestigious national academic research report

May 30, 2022

Bath Spa University has achieved its best-ever results in a UK-wide assessment of the quality and impact of academic research.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) takes place every six or seven years. Since the previous assessment in 2014, the amount of Bath Spa’s research achieving the highest status of ‘world leading’ has increased by 60% overall and 130% for research impact. 

Research in English and Creative Writing at the university scored extremely well, with more than four-fifths (84%) of research in this area deemed ‘world leading’ or four-star rated or ‘internationally excellent’ (three star) – the two highest distinctions.

Culture, Communication and Media also performed very strongly, with 78% of the research submitted achieving a three or four-star rating.

Other subject areas that performed particularly well were Education (60% three or four star), Art and Design (56% three or four star), Business and Management (53% three or four star), and History (58% three or four star).

Geography and Environment, and Music and Performing Arts also had a strong showing with almost half (47%) of research in this field achieving three or four-star status. 

Collectively, 58% of the university’s research submitted was ranked three or four star, up from 51% in 2014. 

Highlights of the research submitted include an app to improve the wellbeing of social workers, a whole-school approach to supporting disadvantaged learners, using a unique form of illustration of sports events to engage marginalised groups, assessing the effect of video games on users, and using emerging digital media technologies in publishing and theatre sectors. 

Vice-chancellor Prof Sue Rigby, pictured, said she was extremely proud of the strong results which reflected many years of hard work across the university.

“Our distinctive, practice-based approach to research draws together disciplines that boost the quality of our work and enhance our global relevance and impact,” she said.

Pro vice-chancellor for research and enterprise professor John Strachan added: “From informing national policy and practice to helping raise awareness and challenge preconceptions about marginalised groups, our research has always had a positive and real-world impact and it is an honour to see that recognised in this prestigious assessment.”

Bath Spa University offers a wide range of courses across the arts, sciences, education, social science and business to its 7,000-plus students.


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