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Cardiff Innovations@sbarcPeoplesbarc | sparkSPARK

SPARK’s strengths shine in REF

30 May 2022

Top ratings for social science research

The UK’s first social science research community – SPARK – is producing internationally leading work, according to the latest Research Excellent Framework (REF) assessment.

REF 2021 is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

A breakdown of recent REF 2021 results shows institutes, groups and centres in the Social Science Research Park collective are among those producing 100% 4* research impact.

Professor Chris Taylor, Academic Director, SPARK, said: “Outstanding REF results across the board for our member groups strengthen SPARK’s rationale as a centre for social science research-led innovation, and add impetus to our recent, collective move to sbarc|spark – a bespoke environment where we design, develop and test social science research-led solutions to tackle the most pressing issues facing society.”

Two centres – CASCADE (the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre) and WISERD (the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data) – contributed to the University’s education research submission, ranking third across the UK for its quality of research.

Both were also recognised for their impactful research, achieving the highest possible score of 4.0 for research impact.

The Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) is a hub for understanding the social science of climate action. It formed part of Cardiff’s REF return for Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, confirming Cardiff as 7th in the UK (out of 93).

Cardiff’s Sociology return ranked the University 10th in the UK and 5th for research environment. The assessment included DECIPHER (the Centre for Development, Evaluation, Complexity and Implementation in Public Health Improvement), HateLab and the Crime and Security Research Institute.

Professor Taylor added: “Our SPARK research contributed to seven units of assessment in the REF demonstrating the wide interdisciplinary nature of our staff, member institutes and groups. For example, the Centre for Innovation Policy Research contributed to submissions for Geography and Environmental Studies, Business and Management, and Sociology.”

We are a top 20 university in the UK for the overall quality of our research (19th) impact (11th) and environment (16th)14th in the UK for Research Power which demonstrates the scale and quality of our research

Cardiff University remains Wales’s leading research-intensive university based on the quality of its research, research power, impact, and environment.