Bournemouth University’s research recognised as world-leading

Bournemouth University’s (BU) research has been recognised as world-leading in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The REF assesses the quality and impact of research at all UK higher education institutions,  across all disciplines and areas of research. The results are then used to help determine future levels of funding for universities and colleges.

BU submitted to eight subject areas and saw 96% of its research rated at an international level, with 18% of that deemed to be world-leading. Since the 2008 research assessment, research at Bournemouth has flourished, with our research that is rated as being world leading or internationally recognised increasing by 21%. The number of staff submitted for assessment has also increased by 45.5%.

Unlike previous assessments, the REF also measured the impact of research outside the world of academia. This could mean the difference that research has made to the economy, society, public policy, culture or even quality of life. 28% of BU’s research was deemed to have an outstanding impact, and a further 67% was rated as having either a considerable or very considerable impact. Our excellent results reflect BU’s commitment to  research that makes a tangible difference to society, and are an acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication of all our staff.

The assessment recognised BU as a leading university in both the UK and south west region. Tourism was rated as joint first in the UK, based on its internationally recognised research. Our tourism academics have, for  example, worked with the Scottish Government to provide the evidence base for business decisions made at prestigious tourism organisations, such as VisitScotland. By developing a model to estimate the size and economic
contribution of wildlife tourism to Scotland, research enabled VisitScotland to capitalise on the country’s appeal as a wildlife destination and name 2013 as the year of ‘Natural Scotland’.

Art and design was rated as first in the south west, based on its world-leading research. Research into improving motion blur techniques by academics at BU made a significant difference to the animation industry. Techniques had remained largely unchanged for over 20 years, until research from BU led to a better method of mimicking shutter opening and closing time, which allowed for more realistic images and an improved viewer experience.  Within months of its publication, the research had been adopted by film studios across the world, including Pixar.

BU’s results reflect the world-class research which goes on at the university on a daily basis. Looking to the future, BU intends to invest in and inspire research which builds upon its reputation of excellence, and continues to make a positive contribution to society.

This article appeared in the 2015 Bournemouth Research Chronicle. Download a copy of the magazine, or view the articles online.