The REF21 results are in! and the School of Psychology’s world leading publications rank 11th in England    

We are ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in our research output, activity and environment.  


The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK Higher Education Institutes. The assessment measures the quality of academic output alongside its impact on the economy, society, public policy, culture and quality of life, every seven years. It is a recognised indicator of research quality, influencing student choice and the distribution of public funds for research, last measured in 2014. 

‘We’re delighted with this strong set of REF results that reflects the excellence of our research and its benefits for society.’ Head of School, Professor Robbie Sutton responded ‘Our submission reflects our world leading expertise across many areas of psychology, embracing the rigorous study of brain and cognition, human development, forensic psychology, social, personality, and political psychology.’ 

‘It is made possible by an outstanding culture of collegiality and curiosity in the School, with several of our world-leading articles reflecting collaborative research across widely different areas of our discipline – and scholars in many other academic disciplines. This is another indicator of our vitality and excellence overall as a School – for example we are ranked as one of the 50 best psychology departments in the world on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, and 6th of all psychology departments in the UK.    

‘Not only is our research and teaching recognised in the international academic community, but it focuses more than ever on the needs of people in Kent, the UK, and the world. We look forward to building on this foundation with new programmes of teaching and research to understand and address mental health – for example in Clinical Psychology.’ 

Here is our summary of the REF2021 

  • Overall score for the units of assessment increased from 2.96 in 2014 to 3.17, meaning that Kent Psychology has moved up to rank 33rd of 93 submissions in the UK, moving it from the third to second quartile;  
  • 80% of our research activity is rated as world leading or internationally excellent;  
  • 80% of publications were rated as world leading or internationally excellent, with the proportion of world leading publications increasing from 20% to 42%, placing us 16th in the UK;  
  • The research environment was rated as 88% world leading or internationally excellent 

For a full summary of the University of Kent’s REF2021 results see here.