Research Excellence Framework

REF 2021

As ‘a place of useful learning’, research is central to everything we do at Strathclyde.

It informs our teaching and underpins our commitment to making a positive difference to business, industry and society as a whole.

REF 2021 has given us an opportunity to demonstrate the quality of our research and we welcome the reception it has had from the REF Panels. This page contains some of the highlights from our submission. To explore the breadth and depth of our research excellence, please check out our wider research pages.

Find out more about our REF2021 results.

Our research areas
  • University icon.
    Above sector average
    for 'world-leading' & 'internationally-excellent' research (89% vs 84%)
  • We are 4th in Scotland & joint 33rd in the UK
    based on Grade Point Average in THE REF ranking tables
  • medal icon.
    Above-average research environment
    with 96.2% rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’
  • 2nd-highest impact quality profile in Scotland
    according to the THE REF tables
Professor Sir Jim McDonald.
I am delighted with Strathclyde’s strong results in the REF 2021 which reflects our status as a leading international technological university that is delivering high-quality research which is making a positive impact on the world.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald
Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Strathclyde

Impact case studies

Read a selection of highlights below.

Silhouette of a father and son walk through a wind farm.

Shaping net zero policy

The University of Strathclyde's Centre for Energy Policy has shaped UK and Scottish government policy development to support low carbon transition to mid-century net zero carbon targets.

Since 2014, CEP has sought to address one of the UK’s most pressing public policy challenges to reduce climate change impacts while ensuring sustained prosperity as households, industry and the wider economy transition to net zero carbon ambitions.

Shaping net zero policy

Creative light blue digital code DNA on white background.

Safer use of high-risk medicines

Research led by Professor Marion Bennie in the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences has helped patients and healthcare practitioners to ensure the safer use and prescribing of HRMs influenced Scottish healthcare policy, improved healthcare practice in Scotland and internationally and improved patient wellbeing.

Safer use of high-risk medicines

3d illustration of C.Diff bacteria.

A new treatment for C.Diff

A new treatment, discovered at the University of Strathclyde, for the Clostridium difficile (C.Diff) infection is in the closing stages of its clinical trials and is expected to be fully licensed within three years.

A new treatment for C.Diff

Police officer.

Improving 'stop and search' practice by police in Scotland

Research by Dr Genevieve Lennon led to a change in police law and practice in Scotland, notably a new Code of Practice. The Code, effective from 2017, regulates police practice during the execution of a stop and search, and provides the public with information about their rights.

Improving ‘stop and search’ practice

US Supreme Court building.

Informing court hearings & public debate on gerrymandering in the US 

Gerrymandering, the manipulation of electoral district boundaries for political ends, is not new in the US but research led by Professor Anthony McGann, head of the University of Strathclyde’s School of Government & Public Policy, found that it dramatically increased in the redistricting that followed the nation’s 2010 census.

Informing on gerrymandering in the US

Technology & Innovation Centre front facade

Ventilation research shaped public health advice for COVID-19

Research into ventilation undertaken by the University of Strathclyde has helped shape UK Government policy and public health advice to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

Ventilation research for COVID-19

Offshore wind turbines.

Electricity supply research paves way for increased use of renewables

A team of researchers have made critical contributions to the reliability, stability and cost of electricity supply in the UK and Europe, through expert advice and changes to industry-wide technical codes and engineering standards.

This has enabled renewable energy to form an increasingly large part of the energy mix available to consumers, while ensuring safety and security of supply.

Electricity supply research

Information for staff

We extend our thanks to the Strathclyde community for its collective efforts in achieving our successful REF 2021 submission.

As we continue our institutional journey to enhance the quality, intensity and impact of our world-class research, we do so in the knowledge that the work of all our staff enables us to achieve our ambitions.