First for impact

The REF’s new impact measure ranks Imperial’s research highest of any major university. Moreover, eight of Imperial’s 14 REF-assessed research areas are top or joint-top for “outstanding” or “very considerable” impact.


  • Imperial comes fourth out of major UK universities for 4* or “world-leading” research, behind the London School of Economics, Oxford and Cambridge, and just ahead of UCL
  • 91% of Imperial research is classed as “world-leading” (46% achieved the highest possible 4* score) or “internationally excellent” (44% achieved 3*) – the highest proportion of any major university.

Moving up

Imperial research quality has improved significantly since the Research Assessment Exercise 2008. The proportion of 4* or 3* classified research has moved from 73% to 91%, and 4* graded research has increased from 26% to 46%, while we have maintained the proportion of eligible staff submitted for assessment (93% in RAE 2008; 92% in REF 2014).