Our research is aimed at making a positive impact globally and locally. The University's research outputs for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 demonstrates a particularly sustained impact in sustainability, health and social policy.
Our impact case studies reported a huge variety of research projects with economic and societal impact felt globally, from pioneering new practices, developing disruptive technology and influencing international policy.
Our work leads among modern London universities in critical areas including computer science and informatics, and social work and social policy. Importantly, these are areas of strength where the University is already innovating on initiatives and ideas across the institution and in our communities.
Our REF 2021 submission illustrates the breadth and real-world impact of the University's research and innovation, and this is reflected in 3* and 4* ratings for impact across a range of subject areas.
Our research power increased by 54% in REF 2021, to 538 compared to 350 in REF 2014.
92% of our research is recognised as world-leading, internationally excellent, or internationally recognised.
REF 2021 was our biggest assessment yet, with 208.5 full-time equivalent staff submitting, a 61% increase since REF 2014.
Our outcome reflects 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
- transforming health and 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 careers-first education for Industry 4.0 and 5.0 and in the next digital revolution advancing solutions in Healthtech, Greentech and Fintech.
A leading modern university
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UEL wide initiatives
UEL's commitment to creating a greener, healthier and fairer tomorrow goes beyond research. See how other campaigns, projects and programmes across the University are making a difference in society.
The University of East London is deeply committed to advancing sustainability and green solutions across our campuses and in our communities. In addition to world-leading research in sustainability, we are working with Siemens to achieve institutional net zero by 2030, and we are progressing research and policies to help reduce emissions, improve the health and wellbeing of our community, and provide a pathway for under-represented communities in green careers.
Health and social policy
The University of East London is committed to advancing research, policies and ideas which improve the mental, intellectual and physical wellbeing of our communities. We are committed to ensuring that all individuals, regardless of circumstances, are able to achieve their full potential.
- Safeguarding children online from harm
- City kids: demonstrating how noisy, cramped environments affect early cognitive and emotional development
- Advocacy for young people with learning disabilities
- Aspire to be the most inclusive university in the UK
- Supporting our institutional health and wellbeing
- New pilot supporting black and ethnic minority students to start new businesses
- The Centre of FinTech
At UEL, we are constantly adapting. That's why we redeveloped our portfolio of courses and worked with industry to prepare for an unpredictable future and ensure that you and your career remain adaptable.
Our education models bring you a personalised and flexible approach. You can expect a vibrant and engaging University experience with plenty of face-to-face contact hours, access to our superb facilities and a diverse community to share ideas with.
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Our dynamic research community is organised into Institutes, Centres and Groups. These provide a focus for our cutting-edge research.Discover our research at UEL
The 2021 Research Excellence Framework rated 17 percent of our research submission as 'world-leading'.Visit our Postgraduate Research page
A guide to REF
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a system to assess the quality and impact of research conducted by UK universities.Find out more
Interested in making a difference in the world? You can #BeTheChange whether that be in healthtech, the green economy or growing areas like Fintech.