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REF2014 Results - UoA1: Clinical Medicine

King’s is delighted to announce its exceptional performance in the Research Excellence Framework (REF).  Almost half (48%) of the overall submission in Clinical Medicine was rated 4* ‘world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour’, and a further 43% was rated 3* ‘internationally excellent’, with 89% of our research outputs achieving these ratings.  

The results position us first in the UK for Clinical Medicine in terms of the proportion of our overall submission that was ranked 4* or 3*, and third overall in the UK based on Grade Point Average. 

The REF assessed the quality of research taking place between 2008 and 2013 in UK higher education institutions. A total of 142 researchers were submitted in the Clinical Medicine category from across six of our Academic Divisions in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine:  

  • Asthma Allergy & Lung Biology (incorporating MRC & Asthma UK Centre in Allergic Mechanisms of Asthma)
  • Cardiovascular (allied to King’s BHF Centre of Excellence)
  • Cancer Studies
  • Genetics & Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology, Infection & Inflammatory Disease
  • Transplantation Immunology & Mucosal Biology (incorporating MRC Centre for Transplantation)

Of the overall number of staff submitted in this unit of assessment, 27 were early career researchers reflecting our pool of young scientific talent. The Faculty was also pleased to submit seven Trust-employed colleagues from across King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre. Their contributions are a reflection of our progress in delivering the university’s translational research.

Professor Simon Howell, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, said: "Our faculty is one of the largest and most successful centres for research and education in the UK, bringing in over £100m in research income. Through our partnership with King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre we are making strides in translating our research across a spectrum of disciplines into improved health for patients both nationally and globally."

As part of our submission we were able to cite some of the best examples of how our research is leading to transformations in healthcare. This is reflected in our strong performance, with all of our impact case studies rated 4* or 3*.

Our scientists have developed a standard, inexpensive genetic test which can detect a large number of genetic disorders in in vitro fertilised embryos. The test emerged from King’s research on preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), which involved developing a small number of DNA probes targeted around a known area of genetic risk. The test is now being used by IVF clinics worldwide as well as by the NHS to help couples avoid the risk of bearing children with inherited diseases.  The Guy’s and St Thomas’ Centre for PGD was licensed in 2008 by the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority and carries out more than half of all the UK’s PGD testing.  Embryos can now be tested for virtually any inherited genetic disease prior to implantation with a 98% success rate.

The work of researchers in our Clinical Respiratory Group has led to dramatic improvements in the management of patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), of which around 100,000 are admitted to hospital each year in England.  The King’s team carried out the first randomised controlled trial in the world of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in response to acute COPD ‘flare ups’, showing that NIV reduces complications and death compared to invasive ventilation.  

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


The Grade Point Average 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 College 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 submitted and is then divided by the FTE of the largest submission.

Read the summary of results for the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine.