MeCCSA initial response to REF2021 outcome

Today’s announcement of the assessment of UK university research quality (the Research Excellence Framework) confirms the outstanding work in media, communication, and cultural studies. The results reflect not only excellence in the standards of research but also success in engaging with those who can use and benefit from research in these fields. They also demonstrate the range, versatility, and diversity of research in media, communication, and cultural studies in UK universities.

Einar Thorsen, chair of the subject association for the field, the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association, said that “these detailed and robust assessments show the enormous hard work and tremendously high quality of the research undertaken in media, communication and cultural studies departments right across the university sector. Despite the great difficulties and pressures of the last few years, the huge contribution made by our field to new knowledge and understanding in these absolutely central areas of social life is proven by these results”.  

The field was mainly evaluated by one of the 34 ‘panels’ established for this purpose.  Among the highlights of the results from this panel (available in full on the REF website) are the following:

  • Three quarters of all outputs (including books, articles, and practice-based research in a variety of formats) were assessed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, and a third of the total were regarded as in the highest category, underlining the leading nature of UK research in this field across the globe
  • Nearly half (48%) of work submitted was regarded as having ‘world-leading’ impact in terms of its value and application in social, cultural, policy, and economic fields.
  • Over 1,600 students were awarded doctorates in the field in the period assessed (2013-2020), testimony to a vibrant field with a high quality development of younger researchers
  • 80 per cent of the submissions demonstrated a research environment that was either world leading or internationally excellent. 
  • Nearly 1,400 staff were submitted to the assessment from nearly 60 institutions

Many researchers within the fields represented by MeCCSA will have had their research evaluated by another panel, for example that assessing work in, among other things, film and screen studies. In this panel too, three-quarters (75 per cent) of research was assessed as internationally excellent or world-leading, and over four-fifths of submissions (81.3 per cent) were assessed as having research whose impact externally was in one of these top two categories. 

Contact for enquires: Einar Thorsen, Chair of MeCCSA

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