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REF 2021: The top 10

Who comes top in the Research Professional News number crunch?

The University of Oxford has again topped the Research Professional News league table for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, remaining unmoved from its lead position in 2014.

The entire top 10 is very similar this time around, too, with only King’s College London and Imperial swapping places in sixth and seventh.

UCL, Edinburgh, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol and Leeds complete the top 10.

Beyond the top rank, though, there are many more nuanced stories in the data for REF’s huge assessment of university research quality.


Along with news and analysis, Research Professional News has produced a full league table of all 157 institutions—available to subscribers here, along with all our REF news and analysis.

Ranking institutions is a difficult business, and a methodology for the metrics used is also available to subscribers.

Read all our news and opinion on this topic on the Research Professional News REF 2021 page.