CaHRU helped lead and contribute to the recently reported Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2021 for Allied Health Professions. The REF is a process of peer review using expert panels to benchmark research units for stakeholders (government, public, students), while increasing accountability for public investment in research, informing decisions on future funding allocations to support university research infrastructure and providing a performance incentive and information for strategic decisions on research.
There were three elements included in REF2021: outputs, impact, and environment. Each element is weighted as follows: outputs constitute 60% with 2.5 (1-5) research articles submitted for each staff member unless they are exempted; impact constitutes 25% and shows the effect of research on health policy, services, practitioners, users or outcomes; finally, environment constitutes 15% and describes management (activities, strategy, EDI), people, resources, and collaboration. The ratings for outputs and overall were as follows with corresponding ratings for impact based on reach and significance of impacts and environment conducive to producing research of the relevant quality:
4* – world-leading quality in terms of originality, significance and rigour
3* -internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence
2* – internationally recognised in terms of originality significance and rigour
1* – nationally recognised in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
We were one of 90 Institutions submitting to UoA3. We submitted 83 papers from 36 staff including 16 papers from 6 staff at CaHRU with the remaining papers from life sciences, pharmacy, physics, computer science and the Lincoln International Institute for Rural Health. The three impact case studies submitted were all from CaHRU and included: improving primary care for people with insomnia using psychological therapies and reducing inappropriate benzodiazepine prescribing; the development and implementation of pre-hospital outcome measures; and promoting uptake of influenza vaccination and its role in preventing heart attack and stroke). The environment statement described the context and structure, research and impact strategy, people, income, infrastructure, facilities, collaboration and contribution to the research base, economy and society.
Our research performance overall and in every element improved very considerably on 2014. For outputs the unit of assessment was rated over 90% world leading (4*: 42%) or internationally excellent (3*: 49%). Two of CaHRUs impact case studies were rated 4* and the other 3*. For environment the unit of assessment achieved 87.5% at 3* and 12.5% at 4*. The university ranked 21st equal with University College London in their performance in Allied Health Professions and the CaHRU team were pleased to contribute to this achievement.