Research Excellence Framework 2014

LSE has confirmed its position as a world-leading research university, with an outstanding performance in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

An analysis of the results show LSE  at the top, or close to the top, of a number of rankings of research quality. It is:

  • Houghton Streetthe top university in the UK based on the proportion of ‘world leading’ (4*) research produced.
  • second in the UK overall when universities are ranked using a ‘grade point average’ (GPA) 
  • the top university in its social science disciplines, whether using a GPA or the percentage of research receiving the top 4* grade as a measure
  • joint second when universities are ranked according to the percentage of research receiving either a 4* or 3* (internationally excellent) grade.

This is the first year where the UK’s national research assessment has taken account of the impact of universities’ research on public life, as well as its quality. Using these specific measures, LSE is:

  • ranked as the top university in the UK for research quality both when using an average score or using the percentage of output receiving the top 4* grade
  • the top university for impact in its social science disciplines, whether judged on GPA or the proportion of research impact awarded 4*. 

The release of the REF also coincides with the launch of a new LSE website which highlights the many ways the School’s research has positively influenced public life – including in business, government, the media and civil society.

Commenting on the School’s REF results and the launch of the LSE Research Impact site, Professor Stuart Corbridge, Provost and Deputy Director said:

These are outstanding results, which show that LSE continues to be a leader in research across a significant number of social science and humanities disciplines.

The impact of our research demonstrates how the social sciences can be just as important as the natural sciences in making a difference."

LSE Director, Professor Craig Calhoun added,

"Stuart Corbridge was the Pro-Director for Research who led the way to our outstanding result in REF. Congratulations to Stuart, to the new Pro-Director for Research Julia Black - who has led on making LSE impact and knowledge exchange known, to the faculty and staff who prepared our submission, and to all the great researchers and communicators who made this happen.”

In addition to excellent overall results, the REF also shows a number of LSE departments leading the way in national research rankings.

LSE’s Department of Media and Communications, European Institute and the combined entry of Management, Accounting and Finance all come top in the UK, based on a grade point average.

When taking into account the percentage of  submissions rated 4* or 3*, the departments of International Development, Social Policy, Media and Communications and Government and International Relations (combined entry) are all ranked first.

The departments of Law and Anthropology both come first in the UK for research quality when ranked by grade point average or by the proportion of 'output' given a top  4* rating. 

More information:

Read more about the research and impact of each LSE department via the REF 2014 menu.

To see how research at LSE is making a difference, visit  LSE Research Impact|.

Full national REF results are available at: Research Excellence Framework 2014|

LSE has calculated which universities are in the top five in the UK for overall research excellence based on institutional GPA.

Top five universities by a grade point average:

REF 2015 Rankings
Rank Institution Total FTE submitted GPA % 4* for institution % 4* or 3* for institution
  1 Imperial College London 1,256.9 3.36 46 91
London School of Economics and Political Science
532.2 3.35  50 87
  3 University of Oxford 2,409.3 3.34 48 87
  4 University of Cambridge 2,087.6 3.33 47 87
  5 Cardiff University 737.7 3.27 40 87

18 December 2014