2021 REF Results

Research Excellence Framework confirms LSE’s strengths in business and management

These REF results confirm the breadth of our research across the three academic departments, accounting pivotal among them, uniquely anchored in LSE’s strengths in the social sciences.

Professor Wim Van der Stede, Head of Department

13 May 2022

LSE’s approach to research excellence in business and management studies has been recognised by assessors in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

The Departments of Accounting, Finance and Management submitted research to the Business and Management studies unit of assessment in the 2021 REF. Ninety-six per cent of the overall research profile for business and management studies at LSE was regarded as world-leading (four star) or internationally excellent (three star). 

This places LSE as joint second in the UK by percentage of overall four and three star research, cementing our position as a leading institution for research and innovation in business and management studies.

Professor Naufel Vilcassim, Head of LSE’s Department of Management said: “The REF results show research for business and management in the UK continues to be incredibly strong and it's an impressive outcome for LSE to rank so highly. This is an achievement that everyone in our community can feel proud of and reflects years of dedication, hard work and pioneering thinking”.

Ninety-four per cent of LSE’s business and management research outputs were rated four or three star, with 68 per cent given the top rating. 

Professor Daniel Ferreira, Head of LSE’s Department of Finance said: “We’re incredibly pleased that our research outputs are recognised to be world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour. It underscores our outstanding contribution to pushing the frontier of knowledge in business and management and our unwavering commitment to academic quality and integrity.”

The quality of research outputs is considered by Research Excellence Framework assessors alongside the non-academic impact of research and the research environment, contributing to our overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.56.

Professor Wim Van der Stede, Head of LSE's Department of Accounting added: "The REF is an opportunity to see the breadth of research across our three academic departments. It demonstrates that we remain a collective force for interdisciplinary research and that we are uniquely placed to draw upon LSE’s strengths in the social sciences."

Our results reflect the strong performance of LSE as a whole and an analysis of the REF finds that LSE is the top university in the UK based on proportion of world-leading (four star) research outputs produced. Read the full story

View results for the Business and Management Studies unit of assessment on the REF 2021 website.

Research Excellence Framework 2021 highlights


The impact of our research

LSE’s impact in Business and Management studies was recognised to be world-leading and internationally excellent. Our high level of engagement beyond academia is exemplified in the following case studies which demonstrates how our research continues to tackle real-world issues and shape policy and business:

About the REF

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system by which the UK’s higher education funding bodies assess the quality of research in publicly funded UK higher education institutions (HEIs).  REF 2021 comprised three elements:  

  • academic outputs, comprising a portfolio based on the FTE of REF-eligible staff submitted
  • research impact, submitted as a number of impact case studies (ICSs) in proportion to the total FTE of REF-eligible staff submitted;
  • research environment, comprising the total number of research degrees awarded between 2014 and 2020, total research income received over the same time period, and an environment statement detailing how the submitting unit(s) supported research and impact over the period.

Outputs, impact and environment were weighted 60:25:15 respectively.  All three elements were graded on a scale from 0 (unclassified) to 4* (world leading) and the results were published as quality profiles showing the percentage of outputs, impact and environment considered to meet each of the starred levels.  Submissions were invited to 34 Units of Assessment (UoAs); LSE made 15 submissions to 13 UoAs across the SHAPE subjects.  

For REF2021, HEIs were required to submit research outputs by all eligible members of staff.  Each submitted member of staff could submit between one and five outputs, with the total number of outputs per UoA calculated as total FTE of staff multiplied by 2.5.    

Staff were eligible for REF2021 where they were on a teaching-and-research or research-only contract of at least 0.2 FTE on 31 July 2020 and had a substantive connection to the submitting HEI.  Research-only staff also had to be classified as independent researchers.  HEIs were also required to identify which eligible staff had significant responsibility for research.  LSE submitted 100% of its staff meeting these definitions, but other HEIs had eligible staff who did not have significant responsibility for research and hence had a submission rate of less than 100%. 

See here for a full glossary of REF terminology.