Our research is creating sustainable cities and communities, reducing inequalities, and is transforming health and well-being – as seen in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Our impact case studies for REF 2021 reported a huge variety of research projects whose impact in communities, society and the economy was felt globally, from pioneering new practices, developing disruptive Healthtech and Greentech technology and influencing international policy. In fact, REF 2021 classed more than 50 per cent of the economic, societal and cultural impact arising from our research as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'.

    55%

    55% of our overall institutional submission has been rated 'world-leading' or 'internationally-excellent'

    61%

    The overall number of academics submitted has increased by 61% from REF2014 to REF2021.

    238

    238 UEL researchers submitted 29 impact case studies and 523 research articles, book chapters, sculptures, videos and performances.

    Our REF outcomes reflect our commitment towards addressing major global challenges aligned with the United Nations' development goals. We're pioneering solutions to help create sustainable cities and communities, reduce inequalities, and transform health and well-being sustainably.

    Professor Amanda J. Broderick

    Vice-Chancellor & President at UEL

    Strategic institutional priorities

    Our strategic institutional research priorities align with the United Nations' sustainable development goals and are driving innovation in including:

    • creating sustainable cities and communities
    • reducing inequalities sustainably
    • transforming health and sustainable well-being

    We embed these values into everything we do across the whole University.

    You can see our research priorities, as set out in Vision 2028, our 10-year strategy, in action through our investment in education 4.0 and the next digital revolution through developing solutions for the future of Healthtech and Greentech.

    Sustainability

    Our commitment to sustainability and achieving net zero will not only reduce our emissions and improve the health and well-being of our community, but provide a pathway for those interested in green careers and sustainability research.

    Health and social policy

    At UEL we make continual, conscious and proactive effort to create a more inclusive society for all. We are committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion to make sure that everyone is able to achieve their full potential.

    Research becoming policy and practice

    Every UEL REF2021 Unit of Assessment (UoA) comprises work that has been evaluated as world-leading. Of particular note are the following disciplinary areas (UoAs) that comprise our overall REF2021 outcome:

    • Computer science: 73% rated world-leading or internationally excellent overall (80.6% of all research outputs and 100% of all impact cases).
    • Allied health: 72% rated world-leading or internationally excellent overall (71% of all research outputs and 67% of all impact cases).
    • Social work & social policy: 76% rated world-leading or internationally excellent overall (83.3% research outputs and 50% impact). Research at UEL is influencing practice, pioneering community focus and community-led initiatives, plus is changing policy on a national and international scale.

    Research at UEL is influencing practice, pioneering community focus and community-led initiatives, plus is changing policy on a national and international scale.

    Safeguarding children online from harm - Professor Julia Davidson OBE

    This research has led to several impacts including: influencing online harm policies, internet service regulation and the development of the UK Safety Tech Sector; and development of a child online protection policy and five-year implementation plan in Rwanda.

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    Childcare marketisation: Addressing the perils and shaping the future - Professor Eva Lloyd OBE

    ICMEC's research into childcare marketisation's impact and alternatives to marketisation or mitigating policies has reached a wide national and international policymaker, professional and academic audience.

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    Assessing peatland status, condition, management and policy for carbon and other ecosystem benefits - Richard Lindsay

    This research has improved commitments to sustainable management and restoration of peatlands by shaping inter-governmental treaties and UN policy development, changes in international law, plus national policy development within government departments and national bodies.

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    Sustainable future practice and building resilience

    Who pays for that post? Upgrading data centres energy efficiency   - Professor Rabih Bashroush

    With over 4 billion people worldwide using the internet, it is estimated that data centres consume 3% of global electricity. This impactful research outlines how these data centres can be more energy-efficient and mitigate the ecological costs of the cyber-revolution.

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    Protecting the beaches; Disaster prevention mechanisms against tsunamis, floods and coastal erosion - Dr Ravindra Jayaratne

    Researchers from UEL have designed a new low-carbon concrete mix which can reduce CO₂ emissions by 40 per cent compared to traditional concrete, providing a more environmentally friendly breakwater design.

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    Health, well-being and inclusion for future generations

    City kids: demonstrating how noisy, cramped environments affect early cognitive and emotional development  - Professor Sam Wass

    UEL's Baby Dev Lab has created the first research-based evidence showing how the early living environment can affect multiple types of problems for children, including impaired academic performances and adverse mental health outcomes.

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    Advocacy for young people with learning disabilities - Professor Andy Minnion

    The RIX Centre has successfully developed ways of using emerging technologies to transform the lives of those with learning disabilities, enabling them to self-advocate and communicate their choices, needs and aspirations.

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    Historicising and promoting 1970s and 1980s New York City music, social dance and art culture - Tim Lawrence

    Tim Lawrence is the author of three major books on the history of music culture in the United States and in particular New York. The first of these Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79, was published by Duke University Press on 2003 and stands as the first book to provide a sustained analysis of the rise of DJ culture and disco the United States during the 1970s.

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    A guide to REF 2021

    The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a system to assess the quality and impact of research conducted by UK universities. It last took place in 2014.

    Read our guide to REF

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