REF 2021

REF Results 2021

These are excellent results for LSE as a whole, and reflects the top-quality research taking place within our department.

Head of Department, Professor Alistair McGuire

The results for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework reflect the Department's outstanding contribution to health and social care policy. Our research and the research of our affiliated Research Centres made up nearly half of the submission to the Unit of Assessment "Social Work and Social Policy", in which LSE ranked 1st overall, both by the percentage of outputs, impact and environment that received a 4* grade, and by the Grade Per Average (GPA) score. Over 70% of outputs were rated 4*, or world leading (the highest category). Our research was submitted alongside that of the Department of Social Policy, and colleagues in Psychological and Behavioural Science, Gender Studies, and Methodology.

We submitted 3 case studies, all of which were awarded a 4* grade. Below are the details of the case studies:

Professor Elias Mossialos 

Improving the fairness and efficiency of Austria's social insurance and healthcare system

Professor Martin Knapp

Supporting policy and practice change for better mental health

Dr Jose-Luis Fernandez 

Informing fairer, more transparent, and cost-effective social care policy


Head of Department, Professor Alistair McGuire commented:

"These are excellent results for LSE as a whole, and in particular for the REF Unit of Assessment that the Department of Health Policy contributed to. We are particularly delighted that the Department’s affiliated Research Centres (CPEC and LSE Health) contributed 50% of the assessed impact case studies to REF2021 and that these have all been ranked 4*. This, along with our highly rated published outputs and research environment, reflects the top-quality research taking place within our department."

What is 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%.

View a full glossary of REF terminology.

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Research Excellence Framework 2014: Impact  

LSE's impact case study submissions to REF2014's Social Work and Social Policy Unit of Assessment all received 4* grading. The following LSE Health case study was submitted by the Department of Social Policy

Re-igniting R&D for antibiotics
Professor Elias Mossialos

This case study focused on LSE Health's work analysing the nature of the incentives necessary to get antibiotic R&D going again in order to address decreasing investment by the pharmaceutical industry in much needed antibiotics. In particular it served as the basis for an urgent request by the EU Council for action and sparked the formation of the critical ‘transatlantic taskforce’ (TATFAR): the first major international collaboration to tackle antibiotic resistance.

Recommendations from the work served as the foundation for an EU-level public/private partnership and for US regulatory reform.

REF2014 ubmitted Impact Case Study – Mossialos
View case study on LSE's Research Impact page


Other relevant LSE case studies

Shaping the Financing of Long-term Care 

Dr Jose-Luis Fernandez, Raphael Wittenberg and Adelina Comas-Herrera

Improving Policy and Practice to Promote Better Mental Health 

Martin Knapp, David McDaid, Adelina Comas-Herrera

A New Approach to Eradicating 'Neglected' Tropical Diseases 

Professor Tim Allen

Helping the NHS Deliver Better Care for Less Money 

Alec Morton and Mara Airoldi

Improving the Motivation and Performance of Health Workers in Africa 

Oriana Bandiera

Making Personal Happiness and Wellbeing a Goal of Public Policy 

Richard Layard

What Evidence is Required for Evidence-based Policies? 

Nancy Cartwright

Overall Results

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

When taking into account the percentage of research rated 4* or 3*, the Department of Social Policy (along with the Departments of International Development, Media and Comunications and Government and International Relations (combined entry)) ranked first.

LSEHSC's co-directors Professors Martin Knapp and Elias Mossialos said:

"These are fantastic results for LSE, and in particular for the Department of Social Policy. We are delighted that the Centre has contributed 50% of the Department's impact case studies to REF2014 and that these have all been ranked 4*. This reflects the excellent research taking place within our research centre".


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Department of Health Policy, Cowdray House, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE

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