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REF2014 Results - UoA3b: Subjects Allied to Medicine - Pharmacy, Nutritional Sciences and Women's Health

King’s is proud of its achievements in Pharmacy, Nutritional Sciences and Women’s Health, reflected in the results of our submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) announced today (18 December 2014). Ninety-one per cent of our overall performance in this unit of assessment was rated 4* and 3*, ‘world leading’ or internationally excellent’, with 87% of our research outputs achieving these ratings.   Overall, our submission was ranked second of all 94 submissions in terms of power ranking.

The REF assessed the quality of research carried out between 2008 and 2013 in UK higher education institutions.  Over 100 members of staff were included in this submission - a tenth of which were early career researchers - from three Academic Divisions in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine.  

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 GPA rating for the three submissions of 3.31, places King’s first in the overall power ranking for this unit of assessment.  

King’s has a strong tradition in pharmaceutical science, world class pharmacology, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics. The university was ranked third in the world for Pharmacy and Pharmacology in the last QS World University Rankings. 

The Division of Diabetes & Nutritional Sciences brings together scientists, clinicians and public health practitioners to develop evidence-based strategies on diet-related and metabolic diseases. Diabetes now affects up to 8% of the UK population and uses at least 10% of NHS resources. Tackling the growing burden of obesity and age-related morbidity, linked to the rise in the number of older people, will be the biggest challenge for biomedical research for the foreseeable future.

The Division of Women’s Health works to tackle the origins, treatment and prevention of many health issues affecting women. Working across the traditional boundaries of science, experimental medicine, social sciences and mental health, our research aims to lessen the burden of disease in women and to develop pathways towards lifelong health. 

Professor Simon Howell, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, said: “The broad sweep of research and expertise at King’s enables us to develop new and improved treatments for major health problems, from new molecular drug targets to low-cost, user-friendly devices that can be used in any clinical setting.”

Our submission included examples of the impact of our work on the prevention and treatment of diseases affecting millions of people worldwide.  All of our impact case studies were rated 4* or 3*. 

These included Professor Andrew Shennan’s work developing blood pressure monitoring equipment to test for the pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia. The condition affects 10 million women worldwide each year and can lead to serious complications, even death of the unborn child or mother. In collaboration with industry, the King’s team has developed an inexpensive, simple device suitable for rural clinics that is currently being rolled out in rural areas of Africa and Asia. 

Professor Clive Page has been at the forefront of developing a revolutionary new way of treating asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Building on the work of ex-GlaxoSmithKline Research Director Sir David Jack, one of lung pharmacology’s most influential chemists, Professor Page is well on the way to bringing his ‘first in class’ drug RPL554 to the market, initially to treat patients with COPD. RPL554 is unique because it provides two remedies in a single dose, reducing the degree of inflammation in the lungs and acting as a bronchodilator, making it easier for patients to breathe. 

You can read more about these and other stories of our impact on our Research in Action webpage.


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.

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