group of scientists looking at their work

REF 2014

Discover how well we did in the Research Excellence Framework 2014

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the benchmark of a university's research success. Find out how we performed in REF 2014. 

Our Units of Assessment (UoA)

We submitted work from four research themes:

  • Allergic and Respiratory Disorders
  • Health and Social Care Environments
  • Health and Social Care of the Older Person
  • Global Health and Social Care

Results

  • 38% of our research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 80% of our impacts were either outstanding or very considerable for reach and significance.
  • 93% of our research outputs were rated internationally excellent or internationally recognised.
  • We're committed to promoting the role of women in science (6 out of our 10 submitted individuals were female, 3 of whom currently or previously have worked part-time).

Impact case studies

  1. Demonstration of the ineffectiveness of water softeners in reducing symptoms of eczema in children.
  2. University of Portsmouth allergy research leads to overturn of inappropriate department of health guidelines on maternal feeding during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Our submission included research from the Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science and covered four areas:

  • Molecular Biophysics
  • Cell Biology and Pharmacology
  • Epigenetics and Developmental Biology
  • Biomaterials/Drug Delivery

Results

  • 90% of our research was rated as world-leading or internationally-excellent.
  • Our overall Grade Point Average increased from 2.50 to 3.12.
  • Ranked in the top 20 of 94 institutions for research excellence.
  • 100% of our research impact was outstanding and very considerable in terms of reach and significance.
  • 3rd out of 25 in the University Alliance group. 

Impact case studies

  1. Research leads to the commercial development and clinical impact of a first-in-class anti-cancer agent.
  2. The development and commercialisation of a polymer that reduces microbial colonisation on dental surfaces, thus improving oral health.
  3. Inhaled heparin, a novel therapeutic approach with clinical benefits in the treatment of obstructive airways diseases.

Our submission included work from three research centres:

Twenty members of staff (9 female), including four early career researchers, were submitted. 

Results

Our research had significant impacts on securing reliable witness testimony, interviewing procedures to detect deception, and also on public understanding and engagement with science at our zoo-based primate research facility.

  • 100% of our impact rated as outstanding or very considerable.
  • 67% of our research profile rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 57% of outputs were regarded as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 3rd out of 25 in the University Alliance group.

Impact case studies

  1. Cognitive research leads to improved lie detection processes and training adopted by professionals in forensic, intelligence, security and commercial settings.
  2. Improving public engagement with and understanding of science through a zoo-based primate research facility.
  3. Promoting justice, protecting victims and supporting witnesses: the impact of the Self-Administered Interview (SAI) in investigative contexts.

Our submission included research from five research groups based in our School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences:

  • Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring
  • Natural Resource Management and Modelling
  • Biodiversity and Evolution
  • Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Crustal Evolution 

Please refer to UoA 17 Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology for research on environmental change.

Results

  • 100% of our research impact classed as outstanding or very considerable.
  • 72% of our research classed as world leading or internationally excellent.
  • Our Grade Point Average increased from 2.40 to 2.78.
  • Our Research Power Index more than doubled.
  • 3rd out of the post-92 universities in this Unit.
  • Nearly twice as many research staff were submitted.
  • Three-fold increase in our research income.

Impact case studies

  1. The Chemcatcher – an approved passive sampler for monitoring water quality.
  2. Enhancing public understanding of nuclear safety issues following the Fukushima nuclear accident.
  3. Driving innovation in wood protection for the marine environment.
  4. Public engagement with evolutionary science: Pterosaurs hit the big and little screen.

The Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) has established an international reputation for research in cosmology and astrophysics, playing a leading role in several major astronomical surveys. 

17 scientists, including 7 early career researchers, were submitted.

Results

  • One of the top three universities nationally for the proportion of such high quality physics outputs. 
  • 96% of our physics research outputs judged world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 89% of Portsmouth physics research outputs, environment and impact rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 90% of research environment internationally excellent.
  • Top rated new university for physics research.
  • Top rated Alliance Group university for physics research, on a par with many Russell Group universities.

Impact case studies

  1. Impact of baryon acoustic oscillations research on the European Space Agency Euclid mission.
  2. Impact of Galaxy Zoo and the Zooniverse on public engagement with scientific research.
  3. High impact public engagement in cosmology.

Our submission came from two research clusters:

The work spanned the spectrum from theoretical advances through to applications addressing specific challenges in collaboration with academic and industrial partners. 11 staff were submitted. 

Results

  • 9.8% of our research outputs were rated world-leading and 61% rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 80% of our impact rated as having very considerable reach and significance.
  • 24th out of 53 UK institutions for impact at world-leading and internationally excellent level.
  • Ranked joint 1st among post-1992 universities.
  • 62% rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 2nd for overall performance among post-1992 universities.

Impact case studies

  1. The use of goal programming to optimise resource allocation in hospitals in the UK and China.
  2. Use of goal programming models to assist strategic financial investment decision making.

Our submission covered three research groups: 

Results

  • 100% of our impact rated as either outstanding (4*) or very considerable in terms of reach and significance (3*). We are rated first nationally for 4*/3* impact. 
  • Top overall world-leading research amongst post-92 universities and University Alliance group.
  • 20% of our research rated world-leading and 64% was either world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 19% of research outputs rated world-leading and 60% was either world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • Our Grade Point Average increased from 1.9 to 2.81.
  • Nationally, we progressed from Q4 in 2008 to Q2 in 2014.

Impact case studies

  1. Improved mobility and quality of life for children with disabilities.
  2. Clinical outcome modelling saves lives.

REF 2014 highlighted our significant growth in Mechanical Engineering research since 2008. 

Our submission covered four research groups:

  • Materials and Structural Integrity
  • Biomechanical Engineering
  • Polymer and Composites
  • Thermo-Fluid, Energy and Manufacturing Engineering

Results

  • 3rd out of new universities submitted in this Unit.
  • 61% of our research outputs were rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 50% of our research overall was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 50% of our impact was rated as having very considerable reach and significance.

Impact case studies

  1. Improved creep-fatigue-oxidation resistance in gas turbine disc materials.
  2. Improved service life management of safety critical aero-engine components subject to foreign object damage.
  3. Improved surgical practice through engineering research.

REF 2014 recognised that our geography research is making world-leading and internationally recognised contributions to important societal issues and academic debates. 

11 staff were submitted representing work across three research groups: 

  • Environmental Processes and Change
  • Geographies of Health, Well-being and Lifecourse
  • Historical Geography and Spatial Analysis

Results

  • Over 42% of our publications classed as internationally excellent or world-leading.
  • Around 90% of our publications are of international quality level.
  • Our Grade Point Average increased from 2.2 to 2.37.
  • 39% of our overall research rated as internationally excellent or world-leading.
  • 60% of our research impact was classed as having outstanding or very considerable impacts in terms of its reach and significance. 
  • All of our research impact was recognised as considerable.

Impact case studies

  1. Enabling access to local historical information for everywhere through A Vision of Britain.
  2. The smoking epidemic in England and Scotland: shaping public health policy and planning.

The 47 strong (41.4 FTE) submission to this Unit was the largest made by the University to REF 2014. 

Our submission covered eight research groups: 

  • Business Education
  • Business Innovation and Growth
  • Business Logistics
  • Corporate Governance
  • Economics
  • Employment Relations and Human Resource Management
  • Finance and Operational Research. 

Results

Our research was viewed as having an extremely significant impact in economic, social and policy-making terms beyond academia.

  • Strongest performing post-1992 university.
  • In the top third of all submitting institutions.
  • 100% of research impact was ranked as outstanding or very considerable. 
  • In top 10% for impact in the Unit, and in the top 5 for impact among the 39 largest Business and Management submissions (35+ staff).
  • 87.5% of our research environment was rated as internationally excellent. 
  • 62% of our research rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • Our Grade Point Average increased from 2.1 to 2.74.

Impact case studies

It was accompanied by five impact case studies which reflected the breadth and depth of research undertaken within the business arena – these included work which has:

  • revolutionised how flight data from aircraft flight recorders is analysed,
  • led to efficiency savings in naval manpower planning,
  • altered the way one of the big four accountancy firms carried out its audit processes,
  • helped to improve the work-related quality of life of employees in a number of major UK companies,
  • prompted legislative change and new stocking strategies as conduit to enhance growth and tackle poverty in the fisheries of Central Asia.

This was our first submission to this Unit. In 2008, staff were entered under two separate units — UoA 36 Business and Management Studies and UoA 50 European Studies.

We made one of the largest submissions in the area of crime and social justice research in the country. It covered three research clusters: 

  • Policing, Crime and Investigation
  • Risk, Security and Counter Fraud
  • Youth, Crime and Social Justice

24 staff were submitted, including six early career researchers. 42% of staff entered were female. 

Results

  • 56.8% of our outputs were rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 9th out of 23 post-1992 institutions for quality of outputs.
  • 50% of our work, including environment and impact, was rated outstanding or very considerable.
  • 26th out of 62 institutions nationwide for research power (which measures the quality of the profile alongside the headcount of researchers entered).

Impact case studies

  1. Improvements to the training and professional development of police in investigative interviewing.
  2. Enhancing support for victims of fraud.
  3. Shaping the design and implementation of payment by results contracts in the delivery of welfare to work programmes.

This was our Department of Sports and Exercise Science’s first submission to the research assessment process. 

Eight staff, including three Early Career Researchers, were submitted representing work across three research groups:

  • Extreme Environmental Medicine and Science
  • Breast Health
  • Human Performance and Health

Results

  • 100% of our impact is rated as either outstanding or very considerable in terms of its reach and significance.
  • 87% of our research output is rated as internationally excellent or internationally recognised in terms of its quality, significance and rigour.
  • Our research environment was rated as internationally excellent or internationally recognised.

Impact case studies

  1. Improving sports bra design and breast health through biomechanics research.
  2. Improving understanding and changing protocols for the rescue and resuscitation of immersion victims.

The Centre for European and International Studies Research achieved a continuing track-record of excellence in REF 2014. 

We made one of the largest submissions to REF 2014 for this Unit. 42 individuals (39 FTE) were entered — almost twice as many individuals as the average Area Studies entry. Early Career Researchers make up almost 40% of our profile.

Our submission included work from eight research clusters: 

  • Cohabited Space
  • Francophone Africa 
  • International Development Studies and Security Issues
  • Language across Borders
  • Social and Cultural History 
  • Sociology and Social Theory 
  • Transnational Europe
  • Women's and Gender Studies

Results

  • In the top 4 universities for research power in Area Studies in the UK.
  • 25% of our research was rated world-leading and 68% either world-leading or internationally excellent. 
  • 40% of our impact was rated outstanding and 84% as either outstanding or very considerable, placing us in the top ten universities in the UK for research impact.
  • 90% of our research environment was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent — one of the top performances in the country.
  • Our Grade Point Average for Impact (3.24) and Environment (3.20) was significantly above the national average.

Impact case studies

  1. Exhibiting Europe: transnationalising museum networks and narratives.
  2. French and British Africa policy. enhancing understanding, improving cooperation.
  3. Popular culture and the city: exhibiting inclusive and challenging urban histories.
  4. Transforming the educational delivery and public understanding of French revolutionary terror.

Our first submission to this Unit comprised work from our Centre for Studies in Literature (CSL). This research is organised in three clusters:

  • Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture
  • Twentieth and Twenty-First Century British and American Literature
  • Early Modern Writing

Results

  • 58.5% of our research outputs were deemed world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 24.4 % of our publications achieved a 4* rating.
  • 2.78 Grade point average (GPA) for research outputs.
  • In the top 20 post-1992 Higher Education Institutes for our percentage of world-leading publications.

Impact case studies

  1. The home of great (crime) writing: developing Portsmouth as a literary and cultural centre.
  2. Victorian literary heritage: promoting public engagement with Dickens and Tennyson.

This was our first submission to this Unit. It reflected collaborations between the School of Media and Performance and the School of Creative Technologies. 

11 staff were submitted, covering two research areas: 

  • Digital Transformations, with a focus on the material preservation of digital artefacts
  • Media Cultures, embracing research on historical and contemporary media, cultural and creative industries. 

Results

  • 100% of our research impact was rated as outstanding or very considerable.
  • 1st for research impact in the Alliance Group and the South East region and in the top ten universities nationally with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.60.
  • 90% of research is internationally recognised and above.
  • Our research environment was ranked as either world-leading or internationally excellent with a GPA of 3.30.
  • 20% of outputs ranked as world-leading and 55% as either world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • 8th of the post-1992 universities.
  • In the top 40 universities for research power.

Impact case studies

  1. Preserving the digital future: the impact of the TOTEM (Trustworthy Online Technical Environment Metadata) registry on preservation professional policy and practice.
  2. Game changing: games research creates new knowledge of digital games environments, improves industry perception of collaborations with academia and results in commercially successful, award-winning products.