London School of Economics and Political Science: LSE top ranked university for world-leading research produced

LSE’s outstanding contribution to social science research has once again been recognised by the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), published today.

The REF evaluates the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, with the results of the latest assessment being delayed by one year because of COVID-19.

An analysis of the REF finds that LSE is the top university in the UK based on proportion of world leading (four star) research outputs produced(1).

Fifty eight per cent of LSE’s research was judged to be world leading (four star) and 35 per cent was deemed to be internationally excellent (three star).

LSE is also the joint second ranking university in the UK overall, when considering research outputs, research impact and research environment(2).

Professor Susana Mourato, LSE Pro-Director for Research, said: “As a small specialist social science university, LSE has punched above its weight in the REF, ranking as top in the UK for the proportion of world-leading research we produce.

“While some aspects of the REF tend to favour the sciences, this result highlights that outstanding research in the social sciences is being done in the UK and that it deserves support and recognition.”

A number of LSE departments did particularly well, with their Units of Assessment coming top overall. These are the departments of Economics, Anthropology, Social Policy, Health Policy and Media and Communications.

Academics from the Departments of Gender Studies, Methodology and Psychological and Behavioural Science also contributed to these top scoring Units of Assessments.

The REF also measures the contribution that research has beyond academia – on society, the economy, culture or politics for example.

LSE research deemed to be world class in this respect focuses on a range of issues including creating better measurements of poverty and inequality, supporting mental health by changing policy and practice, giving social tenants a voice and realising children’s rights in a digital world.

Professor Mourato said: “The REF 2021 results are a great achievement for the School and reflect the incredibly hard work done by colleagues over a number of years.”