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REF 2014 confirms Institute's position at the forefront of dental and oral research

King's College London Dental Institute is proud of its achievements following the publication of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 overall quality profile.

As one of the leading dental schools in the UK, returning the largest number of researchers, the Dental Institute is pleased to see 90% of its overall performance deemed to be of high quality, rated 4* or 3*. This outcome reflects our strategy to promote high quality research across a range of fields from basic craniofacial biology, to tissue engineering and translational research.

Two further submissions were made by King’s to this unit of assessment reflecting our exceptional strengths in the Subjects Allied to Medicine. Combined, our submission was more than 150% the size of the next largest submission which, alongside an overall Grade Point Average rating for the three submissions of 3.31, places King’s first in the overall power ranking for this unit of assessment. 

As an integral part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre, the strength of the Dental Institute lies in the integration of top basic scientists with clinical academics allowing for the rapid translation of new discoveries into clinical practice across a wide range of areas. This is reflected in our strong profile for research impact with 50% of our activity rated as having outstanding impact (4*) and 43% as having very considerable impact (3*) in terms of reach and significance.

Professor Dianne Rekow, Dean of the Dental Institute, says: 'Our unique combination of strong basic science and clinical research enables us to continue to deliver excellence of an international standard.'

Findings from the Dental Institute have been instrumental in changing practice, informing policy and creating new products. Our caries research underpinned the development of the International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS) now used worldwide. This assessment system helps clinicians and researchers detect and monitor caries along with framing research investigations. ICDAS is also a valuable tool to help public health planners assess the prevalence of caries (tooth decay), the most ubiquitous disease across the globe.

As part of the REF assessment, we also showed how our work has improved the early detection of oral cancer, particularly in the pre-cancer stage, through the creation of a new diagnostic service for patients that is used locally and nationally. Our work has also focused education, prevention and screening resources for oral cancer and pre-cancer on high-risk communities, especially younger tobacco users and those who chew areca nuts.

Further information

You can find out more about the impact of King’s research on our Research in Action webpages.

Further information on King’s College London REF results can be found here.


The Grade Point Average (GPA) represents an average score (out of four) for the submission to a unit of assessment and is derived by multiplying the percentage of the submission at each of the levels (4*, 3*, 2*, 1*) by the number of the star ranking and dividing by 100.

The Quality Index is similar to the GPA but gives an additional weighting to the proportion of research at the higher star level. The index that the university has used is % 4* x 9, % 3* x 3, divided by 9. Different league tables may use different proportions for this.

The ‘power’ ranking uses the quality index to derive a score relative to the other submissions. The quality index is multiplied by the full-time equivalent (FTE) submitted and is then divided by the FTE of the largest submission.