How can prospective PhD students use the Research Excellence Framework?
If you’re looking apply for a PhD, the lack of postgraduate-specific rankings can be a frustrating barrier when it comes to choosing your ideal university. Though generic rankings can still provide valuable insight, the REF is arguably an even more valuable tool for would-be PhD researchers.
The REF is a deep dive into the factors that will be most relevant to PhD students – the quality of research conducted by a university, and the environment that facilitates this research.
If a university has a particularly high Output score, this likely means that your PhD will be supervised by leading academics with impressive publication portfolios. You’ll be joining an academic department with a proven track record of making original and significant contributions to your field.
An impressive Impact score demonstrates that a university’s research has been beneficial to society at large. You may well have the opportunity to participate in important (and CV-worthy!) projects in the wider community.
Universities who perform well in the Environment category will have effective training, support, and supervision in place for PhD candidates, as well as a sustainable funding model. They will have state-of-the-art facilities and have taken steps to promote diversity within their staff and student populations.