Sixty-eight per cent of research we submitted to the 2021 Research Excellence Framework was judged to be either world-leading or internationally excellent. 

Published every six years, the Framework assesses research in every UK higher education institution. The assessment is based on three aspects: the Research Environment, Research Impact and Research Outputs, with an overall scoring profile of 4* world leading, 3* internationally excellent, 2* internationally recognised and 1* nationally recognised.

The 2021 Framework also found that:

  • We are the top Scottish modern university for both research power and research impact
  • 68 per cent of our research is now assessed as “internationally excellent” or “world leading”, up 15 per cent since 2014
  • 80 per cent of our impact is now assessed as “internationally excellent” or “world leading”, up 25 per cent since 2014

Commenting on the success of Edinburgh Napier University's REF2021 results, Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation:

“I am delighted to see these REF results firmly placing Edinburgh Napier as the Number One Modern University in Scotland, both in research power and impact. This is the outcome of the tireless, collaborative efforts of our academic and professional services staff over the past seven years, for which I am truly grateful.

“These outcomes, and in particular the fact that nearly 70 per cent of our research has been evaluated as internationally excellent or world-leading, providing the best possible confirmation that Edinburgh Napier delivers excellent research with substantial real impact, nationally and internationally.

“Going forward, through our continuous investment into our great staff, we are confident that by the next REF exercise we will be able to establish ourselves as one of the world leading UK universities in research.”

Our research impact

The research submitted in REF2021 covered a wide range of academic disciplines, from environmental science and computer science to built environment and social policy. It included projects focusing on mangrove and seagrass conservation, cybercrime-busting technology, offsite construction solutions, cardiovascular health and police stop and search policy, to name just a few.