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18 December 2014

Results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014

Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care at King's has performed well.

Research Excellent Framework 2014 logo
Research Excellent Framework 2014 logo

The Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery and the Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation have performed well in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, according to the results announced today (18 December 2014).

Under the REF, a process of expert review of the quality and impact of research in UK higher education institutions, this submission achieved a  4* or 3* rating in 84% of its research outputs,while 84% of the impact case studies submitted as part of the assessment were rated at 4*. In total, 43 individual researchers’ work was taken into account for this submission, a quarter of which were early career researchers. Overall, 90%of this return from the REF was rated 4* or 3*.

Two further submissions were made by King’s to this unit of assessment reflecting our exceptional strengths in the Allied Health Professions. 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. 

The Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery develops leading-edge nurses and midwives who are the future leaders in their professions. The Faculty is ranked as the number one faculty for nursing and midwifery in London (Complete University Guide 2014).

The Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation is the first purpose built institute in the world for research into palliative care. The Institute brings together academics,healthcare professionals, community organisations, patients and carers in one centre and acts as the hub for a network of international research. It offers high quality palliative care solutions to patients and their families,as well as providing education, patient information and support.

The 2014 REF results signal the excellent and world-leading health research undertaken at King’s and highlights the positive impact our work is having across the world. Our researchers work within the King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre and with other clinical partners to continually improve patient care, to deliver evidence-led interventions and changes to healthcare delivery, and to make a real and lasting difference to people’s lives every day.

Professor Helen McCutcheon, Dean of the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery

One innovative project assessed as part of the REF 2014 is the work of Dr Patricia Grocott, Reader in Palliative Wound Care Technology Transfer and a nurse researcher. Dr Grocott, as part of a multidisciplinary team, worked with patients who suffer from a rare genetic skin condition to develop a range of specialist wound dressing retention garments. People who have used the garments report a range of benefits including comfort, healing of wounds that had persisted for years, improved ability to wear clothes and shoes and enhanced self-esteem and confidence.  This project won the Guardian University Awards for Outstanding Research Impact in 2013.

Another highly commended research case study included in the REF assessment is Professor Irene Higginson’s involvement in the creation of the Palliative care Outcome Scale (POS), which has helped reshape the way palliative care is delivered across the world. The POS project developed a standard questionnaire which uncovers a patient’s experience of pain, symptoms,anxieties, their quality of care and their ability – along with their families and friends – to live worthwhile lives. The work has revolutionised the way practitioners assess patients’ needs and the POS scale has been translated into 28 languages across four continents.

The cutting edge multidisciplinary research at the Cicely Saunders Institute, fostered by the multi-faculty environment of King’s, helps to improve the quality of palliative care offered to patients, families and the wider community, as demonstrated in these REF 2014 results.

Professor Irene Higginson, Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute


  • 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.

Find our more about our research.