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Gloucestershire’s universities carry out ‘internationally excellent’ research

Gloucestershire's universities are celebrating after their research was highlighted as being 'internationally excellent'.

That's according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF), which also found some areas of research to be world leading. The REF is a national exercise to assess the quality of research at universities, and the outcomes are used to determine a large proportion of public funding for research.

All University of Gloucestershire, subject areas were judged as having 'internationally excellent' research.

The university made submissions to 13 Units of Assessment (UoAs) for REF 2021, more than doubling the number of subject areas submitted to the last REF in 2014, with all UOAs judged to have at least some internationally excellent work of 3* quality.

Forty-seven per cent of the university's total REF submission was judged world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*), with the Art and Design submission rated as 78 per cent 3 or 4* and Sport and Exercise achieving 71% in the top two bands.

When rated specifically for research impact, seven UOAs scored 50 per cent or more 3/4*, with Art and Design achieving 100% on that metric.

Stephen Marston, vice-chancellor of University of Gloucestershire, said: "The progress we have made since 2014 in building the scale of our research activity is impressive. These REF ratings are welcome evidence of the quality of our research across a broad range of disciplines. Our staff can be immensely proud that the quality and impact of their research has been so highly rated.

"At University of Gloucestershire, the student experience is enriched by working in an environment underpinned by the latest research and professional practice. We encourage exchange between teaching and research, ensuring our curriculum reflects the latest advances.

"Being increasingly active in research benefits not only our students and staff, but also our wider community. Many of our research programmes involve collaborations with partners locally, regionally and globally, ensuring our research is applied and makes a positive impact on people's lives."

Meanwhile, Hartpury University submitted research to the Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism UoA, reflecting the institution's commitment to create knowledge in areas including sport and equine, which have a positive impact on areas including health, wellbeing and performance.

Research in the submission included ground-breaking work investigating the use of drumming to improve the quality of life of children with autism spectrum disorder. Other research submitted included the development of evidence-informed guidelines to support the use of water treadmills in horses, which have been adopted around the world. Hartpury's own water treadmill is used by multiple Olympic medal-winning horses, illustrating the benefits of this type of activity.

Prof Stephen Draper, academic dean at Hartpury University, said: "This is an impressive set of results that demonstrates the strength of our research outputs, even at this early stage in our university journey. Having our research assessed as both world leading and internationally excellent shows how our collaborative efforts; working with colleagues from across the globe to address real-world problems, are already paying off.

"Looking ahead to the future, we have ambitious plans and aim to show research excellence in agricultural science. Our burgeoning portfolio of agriculture research is supported by significant investment in our facilities."

Russell Marchant, vice-chancellor of Hartpury University, said: "Achieving this outstanding result so soon after becoming a university is testament to the commitment, dedication and passion of all our staff. I'm so very proud of the entire team who've worked hard to return several striking performance results.

"As part of our ambitious long-term strategy, we'll continue to invest further in excellent research, facilities and academic appointments to build the mutually beneficial relationship between research and student education."

Punchline-Gloucester.com reported last week that research at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester had also been rated as internationally excellent or world leading by the REF.

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