The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK universities. In the last round of REF, in 2014, UCA achieved some fantastic scores.
The most recent round of assessment found UCA to be an impressive environment for creative arts research.
64% of our research was classed as world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) for its originality, significance and rigour.
93% of our research activity was recognised for its quality internationally (4*, 3* or 2*).
104 research outputs from 33 researchers were submitted to REF 2014. They included exhibitions, buildings, ceramics, photographic collections, films, essays, books and reports.
In REF 2014, we submitted to unit of assessment 34 – Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory.
The excellent selection of work that we chose to submit for assessment clearly demonstrated our longstanding strengths in fine art, sustainable design, textiles and crafts, photography, film and the moving image.
We were also proud to showcase significant development across other disciplines, such as architecture and digital media, and to share the impressive growth of our research culture and expertise.
UCA demonstrated the continuing impact of its international research centres in three projects organised by The International Textiles Research Centre, directed by Professor Lesley Millar MBE, The Crafts Study Centre, directed by Professor Simon Olding, and the Centre for Sustainable Design, directed by Professor Martin Charter.
Emphasis on the craft practitioner
UCA’s Crafts Study Centre and The Anglo-Japanese Textiles Research Centre were both praised for championing the work of craft practitioners and finding new ways of thinking through creative practice.
UCA’s textiles research has inspired many international practitioners’ work, including collaborative projects between Norwegian artist Anniken Amundsen and Japanese artist Machiko Agano, Through the Surface (2004-5) and Cultex (2009). Read the full impact case study.
Lost in Lace
One of the key projects picked out by REF assessors as an example of excellence was Professor Lesley Millar’s Lost in Lace, an exhibition presented by Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Crafts Council.
The exhibition built upon a rich tradition of relationships between lace and architecture and explored Japanese spatial notions within a Western context.
Lost in Lace generated nearly £950,000 worth of economic activity and attracted 1,200 visitors from all over the world. Read the full impact case study
Encouraging green business
The Centre for Sustainable Design was recognised for its impact on eco-design and eco-innovation in business through two projects: Professor Charter’s role on the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) panel for Eco-Design, and his leadership of the collaborative project Sustainable Supply Chains through Innovation, which worked to transfer knowledge of eco-design and sustainability to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The project had a total value of over £400,000, and developed a series of innovative activities, workshops and events to transfer research knowledge to SMEs, procurement professionals and buyers in the South East. Events included ‘Green Dragons’, where delegates pitched sustainable goods and products to potential users. Read the full impact case study.