The year 2020 has been a remarkable year for our research. Not only because the School continued to produce influential research on issues around the design of environmentally and socially sustainable places and mobilities in urban contexts, but also because of the national Research Evaluation Framework (REF) exercise: a period of intensive data-collection, stock-taking, review, and reflection on research done at each university between 2014 and 2021.
The REF-exercise reveals a group of almost 80 staff members involved in producing research relevant for REF and around 45 individuals working on their MPhil and PhD research, the largest ‘unit of assessment’ for REF at the University of Westminster. The size of the submission represents a dramatic increase in the research intensity of the School, more than doubling the number of staff submitted from the previous REF in 2014, and demonstrates representation from all the disciplines that make up the School of Architecture and Cities: architecture, urban planning, transport studies, tourism and events.
The principle research outputs (mainly journal articles, books, book chapters and nine design folios) have been selected from nearly 1,000 outputs published and created between 2014 and 2021, and judged by internal and external review; many of these point to world-leading quality in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
A supporting element of the REF process involves reflecting on five detailed ‘Impact Case Studies’ demonstrating the real-world impact of practices and policies in urban sustainability, transport planning, urban planning and tourism. A final component is the REF ‘Environment Statement’. While activities are often London- and UK-based, the School’s research has a strong position in Europe and the Asia-Paci c (South-, Southeast- and East-Asia). A prominent strength for the School is in its ability to submit and run successful research bids. Between 2014 and 2021, it has hosted 82 externally-funded projects, utilising opportunities arising from research councils, EU funding, industry and the charitable sector.
REF has confirmed that the School truly has local, national and global presence. The School has leadership roles for influential publications, projects and in international networks for the disciplines relevant to the school (architecture, transport, planning, tourism). Staff members represent the School widely, through visiting scholar- and professorships, peer review bodies, learned institutes, and as editors for globally in influential journals. The School has an impressive collection of honours and awards. It is particularly active in organising and hosting conferences, seminar and workshops (well over 100 larger events since 2014), both at the Marylebone Campus and overseas. MORE provides a bit of a flavour of this dynamic and vibrant research culture. A culture we can be truly proud of, and one we should cherish for the years to come.
For further details about our research groups, visit:
Johan Woltjer SA+C Research Director