Economy Minister Gordon Lyons welcomed the high performance of Northern Ireland’s Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) as part of the 2021 Research Framework (REF).

Minister of Economy Gordon Lyons

REF across the UK provides a rigorous assessment of the quality and impact of university research in all subject areas. A total of 157 UK universities participated in the REF, and the materials were evaluated by a number of expert panels, which include British and international researchers, external research users and experts in interdisciplinary research. The Queen’s University, the University of Ulster and the University College of Strandmillis took part in REF 2021.

One of the key findings of REF 2021 was that, compared to international standards, 38% of the studies presented at the REF University of Northern Ireland were rated as “world leaders” (4 *), which improved over 30% of the studies rated as such a quality in a previous REF 2014 study. REF 2021 rated another 49% of Northern Irish universities; the study was awarded “Excellent Internationally” (3 *), which improved again compared to the 46% achieved in this regard in REF 2014.

Commenting on the results of REF, Minister Lyons said: “Our universities should be congratulated on the excellent results of REF, which demonstrate the quality and diversity of research conducted in our institutions. The results show the strength and impact of the research base in our institutions.” in the world or excellent internationally.

“These outstanding indicators are supported by significant improvements in a number of subject areas since the previous exercise in 2014. It illustrates both the depth and breadth of the research experience of our universities, from related professions of health, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy to agriculture, nutrition. and veterinary sciences, as well as from computer science and physics to engineering to law. ”

REF 2021 also reflects the real benefits and impact of research conducted by local agencies for our society and economy, and the case studies presented within REF demonstrate a diverse range of impacts, from developing new technologies to help our economies to key medical advances.

Minister Lyons summed up: “The results reflect the hard work and talent of the researchers of our institutions, and help to demonstrate a significant return on public investment in research, in terms of both the role in achieving social benefits and supporting the Department. a vision focused on innovation to provide ten times better economy with benefits for all Northern Ireland residents.

“The annual funding of core research provided by Northern Ireland’s higher education institutions by my department plays a key role in sustaining much of our universities’ research activities, supporting the research infrastructure in the institutions and enabling them to maintain research capacity. I am pleased that this core funding has provided a solid foundation that has helped our local researchers achieve the impressive results of REF 2021 implemented by the Northern Ireland institutions. ”

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