TSL contributes to world-leading and internationally excellent research

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Every six years, the quality of research at UK universities is assessed as part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). These assessments form a critical part of how universities are judged nationally and internationally. It also influences the amount of funding they will each receive in the coming years from the university funding body, Research England, totalling ~£2 billion.

The Sainsbury Laboratory’s research contributes to the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) submissions to REF2021.

An impressive 91% of UEA’s research was found to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in REF2021, above the national average of 84% which represents research submitted from 157 universities.

We at The Sainsbury Laboratory are particularly excited to see UEA take the equal top spot in the Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Sciences Unit of Assessment 6. We are proud to be part of this top performing Unit and see the impact of our research in plant diseases for sustainable agriculture and food security recognised in this way. We are also proud to be part of the Biological Sciences return which also scored among the top departments in the UK.

We find it fitting that these results are published on the International Day of Plant Health, which serves as a global reminder of the importance of plant health research for a sustainable future.

Wheat blast is a devastating disease that can infect the wheat ear, leading to shrivelled and deformed grains. The disease is caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae pathotype triticum (MoT), which has spread to multiple continents in recent years and causes pandemics that threaten food security.

Prof. Nick Talbot, Executive Director of The Sainsbury Laboratory, said “It is great to see the quality of UEA research recognised in REF2021. UEA has world-leading strengths across arts, humanities and sciences, which shows very clearly in the evaluation. We are proud to have contributed to two units of assessment and see the quality and impact of TSL research recognised by the REF panel. Working with UEA and our partners across the Norwich Research Park, we aim to build an even stronger centre of excellence for cutting-edge research in the future. We are very excited by that prospect.”

Prof. David Richardson, UEA Vice-Chancellor, said: "As the sixth-most highly cited university in the UK according to Times Higher Education, UEA has always had a strong reputation as a research-intensive institution.”

“These REF results are confirmation of that, and I am exceptionally proud to be able to say that UEA’s research is actively making a positive difference, demonstrating a huge return on public investment in research and helping to give Norwich and East Anglia a place on the world stage.”