• 88% of research rated world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 7th in UK for Engineering research power
  • Research impact increased across all submitted areas

The latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) results have rated 88% of Cranfield’s research as world-leading or internationally excellent.

The REF is a system for assessing the quality and impact of research in UK universities and helps inform an element of research funding that institutions receive. The 2021 results reflect Cranfield’s global reputation for excellence in applied research that has a real-world impact.

“This strong set of results confirms that Cranfield is a place where exciting research is shaping the future,” said Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, Professor Karen Holford CBE FREng. “We can be rightly proud of this assessment, and I want to thank all of our researchers and staff across the whole University who have worked so hard to contribute to the process.”

Research powerhouse with success in impact

Cranfield submitted research to three Units of Assessment: Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Science, Engineering, and Business and Management. In each area, the institution was assessed on the sub-categories of outputs, impact and research environment.

In Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Science, Cranfield saw increases in its Grade Point Average across all sub-categories of assessment and was ranked 7th in the UK for its research impact.

Engineering, which is a new Unit of Assessment in 2021, was ranked 7th in the UK for research power.

Business and Management increased its ranking for research impact, ranked 7th in the UK out of 108 institutions.

An exciting future for Cranfield

Professor Leon A. Terry, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, said: “The clear strength Cranfield has in research impact reflects the passion and dedication of our talented researchers, and the deeply embedded work we do with industry partners and governments.

“With a new research strategy launching later this summer, Cranfield has an exciting future ahead as we build on our vision to be globally recognised as the UK's applied research powerhouse.”

Notes for editors

About the REF 2021


The REF is undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies: Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE).

The funding bodies aim to secure the continuation of a world-class, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within UK higher education. The results of the REF are used to inform the allocation of around £2billion of research funding per year. 157 UK universities took part in the most recent REF.