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Bangor research in Top 30 for societal impact in UK

Bangor research in Top 30 for societal impact in UK

Bangor University’s research has been ranked highly in the Government’s most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2021), with 85% judged to be world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).

Bangor University’s research delivers social, cultural, and environmental benefits, from advances in healthcare to combatting global environmental change and finding the energy solutions of the future.

Bangor’s Sport and Exercise Sciences is ranked in the Top 5 overall in the UK. With an excellent score in terms of the societal impact of its world-leading and internationally excellent research, our leading sport scientists are carrying out research into mental resilience, elite performance, dietary behaviour and metabolism, and exercise and vascular health. 

Bangor’s research is changing the world in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences and is 1st in the UK for the impact of its research. With one of the largest groups of environmental scientists in the UK, our research is ranked sixth in the UK and 1st in Wales for research power.

Our scientists are tackling climate change and addressing some of the planet’s greatest environmental issues on land and sea, such as the overuse of single-use plastics, and protecting the variety of species and ecosystems through biodiversity conservation research.

Our research in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy is ranked 15th overall in the UK. This work supports the University’s Welsh Government-backed flagship plans for a North Wales Medical School at Bangor University from 2024 that will build on our research strengths in Human Sciences and help develop future health and social care that is sustainable, place-based and bolsters the growth of the regional life sciences sector.

More than 150 UK universities and other research institutes were assessed in the exercise.

These results put Bangor University at the forefront of developing significant responses to the challenges of the world we live in, namely sustainability, low carbon, preventative health, promoting technology and innovation, and culture and the arts.

It is at the edge of disciplines that researchers achieve real innovation and Bangor’s interdisciplinary globally significant research is demonstrating real-world impact.

Our ranking of second overall in Wales demonstrates our commitment to supporting research, industry expertise and civic engagement for the benefit of the economy and society in North Wales and beyond.

Professor Edmund Burke,  Vice-Chancellor

2021 Research Excellence Framework Results - Bangor University

Percentage of the submission meeting the standard for:
Main panel Unit of assessment number Unit of assessment name Quality Profile FTE of submitted staff % of eligible staff submitted 4* 3* 2* 1* Unclassified
A 3 Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy Overall 22.16 100 48 47 2 3 0
Outputs     44 47 4 6  
Impact     33 67      
Environment     88 13      
A 4 Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience Overall 28.76 100 34 52 12 1 1
Outputs     22 57 18 1 1
Impact     67 33      
Environment     25 63 13    
B 7 Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences Overall 75.30 100 58 38 4 0 0
Outputs     43 52 6    
Impact     92 8      
Environment     63 38      
B 12 Engineering Overall 25.55 100 27 53 15 5 0
Outputs     20 67 11 2  
Impact     50 17 17 17  
Environment     13 63 25    
C 17 Business and Management Studies Overall 21.70 100 17 61 20 1 1
Outputs     22 57 17 2 2
Impact     17 67 17    
Environment       63 38    
C 21 Sociology Overall 28.70 100 23 41 31 4 1
Outputs     18 43 31 7 1
Impact     50 50      
Environment       13 88    
C 24 Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism Overall 16.80 100 65 35 0 0 0
Outputs     55 45      
Impact     75 25      
Environment     88 13      
D 26 Modern Languages and Linguistics Overall 32.80 100 29 52 17 2 0
Outputs     23 49 24 4  
Impact     33 67      
Environment     48 40 13    
D 27 English Language and Literature Overall 18.80 100 35 37 28 0 0
Outputs     55 32 13    
Impact       25 75    
Environment     10 78 13    
A stethoscope lying on an open book

UoA 3

Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy  

Integrated medical and health-related research are part of Bangor University’s leading Institute for Health and Medical Research. The institute prioritises research to enhance patient outcomes. Our portfolio contributes to the global programme of research into the COVID-19 pandemic. And our researchers engage with government, regulatory, NHS, and third sector partners to enhance policy research.

Our research reflects five principal methodologies: Pharmacoeconomics and public health economics; clinical trial design and the evaluation of complex medical interventions; novel secondary research; implementation science with participatory research; and cellular biology.

All of these enable interlinking research to address psychosocial interventions for dementia, oral health, primary and palliative care research, and cellular mechanisms of cancer.

Submitted Case Studies

Most Recent Research in this Area

 Other Programmes at Bangor University

UoA 4

Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Research at Bangor University’s School of Psychology reflects two approaches with long-established histories: the development and application of interventions to promote health and wellbeing from early childhood to older age; and cognitive neuroscience, where the School has invested in researcher expertise and specialised facilities.

The School’s research focuses on:

  • Interventions for Wellbeing – investigating wellbeing, resilience, physical health, and mental health. Our work includes interventions for children, parents, and teachers to improve children’s wellbeing.
  • Perception and Action - Research in cognitive neuroscience is addressing real-world challenges at the interface of psychology, engineering, biology, and medicine.
  • Social Neuroscience and Cognition – researchers are investigating person perception and social interactions with the aim of understanding the neural and behavioural mechanisms underlying normal and disordered social function.
  • Language and Development - Over half the population of Gwynedd and Anglesey are fluent in both Welsh and English, the largest proportion of bilingual residents in the UK. The language and cultural context of North Wales is therefore a unique driving force for our research.

Submitted Case Studies

Snowdonia National Park

UoA 7

Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences

Bangor University has one of the largest groups of environmental scientists in the UK.

Its internationally recognised School of Ocean Sciences, together with the School of Natural Sciences, are supported by interdisciplinary centres of excellence including the Centre for Environmental Biotechnology, the Centre for Applied Marine Sciences, and the Biocomposites Centre which is at the forefront of research, development and commercial application of bio-based alternatives to synthetic materials leading to significant impact on manufacturing industry.

Our scientists benefit from partnership with the Environment Centre Wales funded by NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council) UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Our research ranges from global environmental change to sustainable food production.

Bangor has an integrated portfolio of research that links the fundamental ecology of natural systems with their conservation and sustainable use, right through the value chain to food - both marine and terrestrial - and forest products.

Research focuses on four themes:

  • Earth Systems Science and Physical Oceanography - Fundamental understanding of the physical environment and its relationship with basic biological processes. Bangor’s Physical Oceanography group has a track record of more than five decades of world-leading research, largely focusing on shelf seas and oceanic mixing processes.
  • Microbiology, Biogeochemistry and Biotechnology – Bangor has a long and successful record of research in extremophiles, environmental microbiology, metagenomics and enzyme discovery for applications in biotechnology. In plant-soil-microbial interactions we are undertaking the most extensive survey of below-ground life in Europe.
  • Evolution, Physiology and Behaviour - Exploring the biology of organisms feeds into extensive research in resource management, sustainable food production and the interface with social sciences. We use leading-edge molecular and bioinformatic approaches across diverse habitats to tackle significant and timely issues in evolutionary biology and molecular ecology.
  • Sustainable Use, Conservation and Ecology of Natural Resources - These themes address fundamental and applied questions delivering impact of international excellence, enabling us to respond to the needs of industry, policy makers and society.

Submitted Case Studies

lecturer teaching computer science engineering student

UoA 12


Engineering research at Bangor University is focused around three themes aligned with industrial sectors of international significance:

  • Photonics and Communications – We have a track-record in fundamental research in photonics and electromagnetics, specifically nanoscale light sources, integrated photonics, and super-resolution imaging, as well as applied research in optical communications and GPS technologies. Bangor’s Digital Signal Processing Centre, funded by the ERDF, focuses on highly specialised research into digital communication systems such as 5G networks and ecosystems.
  • Energy, Environmental- and Bio-Sensing - Bangor’s research takes a holistic ‘systems’ approach, with a special focus on a range of Low Carbon Energy activities including nuclear and marine energy systems and sensor technologies. Our work is heavily focused on enhancing the readiness of new technologies, strengthened through significant academic and industrial partnerships.
    Highlights include: 
    • Development of a suite of molten-Pb testing facilities to support National Nuclear Laboratory research into their lead-fast reactor as part of the UK government Advanced Modular Reactor competition and the Nuclear Innovation Programme. 
    • In Ocean Sciences we monitor and model new solar and marine renewable and low carbon energy systems to guide best practice in quantifying energy generation potential. 
    • Bangor’s prestigious Nuclear Futures Institute includes extraordinary facilities being used by researchers and industry stakeholders to aid nuclear technology development.
    • Our Smart Efficient Energy Centre works across low carbon energy sectors to advance engineering, computer science and modelling to increase the sustainability of energy supply and utilisation, while minimising negative environmental impacts.
  • Visualisation, Data Modelling and Graphics - Bangor’s research has built on its longstanding strengths in machine learning and pattern recognition and has expanded its impacts into Analytics and Virtual Reality.

Submitted Case Studies

Reviewing stocks on the stock market

UoA 17

Business and Management Studies

Bangor Business School is at the forefront for research and training in the areas of accounting, banking, and finance in the UK and is a Top 50 institution in the world for Banking research.

Research focuses on three themes:

  • Methodological Advances & Innovations – Through development of tools and advancing analytical models, our advances are being incorporated into industry. Forecasting research has impacted processes at international corporations including Bosch, Siemens and Amazon.
  • Communications – Our research incorporates financial communications as well as consumer responses to marketing and public policy communications.
  • Regulations & Governance – Bangor is supporting governments, regulators, policy-makers, and watchdogs with research that evaluates policies such as short-selling, securities laws, credit ratings, price quotation mechanisms, inflation-targeting regimes, and taxation. Our research is tackling issues in financial regulation, competition and corporate governance in banking.

Submitted Case Studies

Image of a busy shopping street.

UoA 21


Sociologists at Bangor University produce leading research relevant to the unfolding dynamics of our changing world. Our focus is on the empirical, critical and theoretical study of social structures, power, everyday values and practices, including social theory and historical and comparative studies.

A rich diversity of theoretical and empirical approaches are used to explore different societies, with specialisms in England and Wales, Germany, North America, China and Greece.

Research focuses on five themes:

  • Social Movements, Civil Society and the Public Sphere - We study expressions of social justice issues, conflict, political and social activist movements, dialogue and public debate.
  • Political Power, Legitimacy, and the State - Our research addresses the evolving reach and imbalances in state power.
  • Nations, Communities and Culture – Researchers are focusing on national identity, nationalism, ethnicity, class, and the politics of devolution, communities and local social relations.
  • Identity, the Self and Material Culture – Sociologists are investigating formations of identity and belonging, including how these relate to the technologies, architecture and natural world that surround people.
  • Rights, Justice and Regulation – We are exploring the Sociology of law, questions of human rights, social and economic justice, with an emphasis on governance and regulation.

Four research centres are key to our collaborations and societal impact: The Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research and Data; the Sir William Roberts Centre for Sustainable Land Use; the Emotional Artificial Intelligence Lab; and the Network for the Study of Media and Persuasive Communication.

Submitted Case Studies

Students working in Sport and Exercise Science Lab

UoA 24

Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism

Bangor’s prestigious School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences carries out research into mental resilience, elite performance, human performance and health in extreme environments, dietary behaviour and metabolism, and exercise and vascular health.

Our researchers work within two institutes :

  • The Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance develops and applies psychological principles in the high-demand contexts of sports, military and business. Funders include the Ministry of Defence and national sport organisations such as the England and Wales Cricket Board, Manchester City FC, and the Rugby Football Union. Bangor’s resilience training programmes were used by the England cricket teams in preparation for their winning 2019 World Cup campaign.
  • The Institute for Applied Human Physiology focuses on four themes: Preventative and Rehabilitative Medicine; People and the Environment; Sport and Human Performance; and Physiology and Technology. We explore these themes using the latest technology to study behavioural responses and integrative changes in neural, endocrine, metabolic, renal, cardiovascular, and respiratory physiology to exercise, disease, and the environment. Funders include the National Institute for Health and Care Research and Welsh Government’s Healthy and Active Fund. Our work on nutrition has been particularly impactful, being used by the Ministry of Defence to enhance the health and wellbeing of military personnel.

Submitted Case Studies

A keyboard showing different languages

UoA 26

Modern Languages and Linguistics

Scholars from across the Arts and Humanities are enabling the creation of a sustainable, language-based, culturally diverse portfolio of research that reflects the historic strengths of the Bangor University and impacts on culture, society and the arts.

This has been enhanced through close collaboration with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (the Welsh National College) which plays a key role in creating a sustainable Welsh-medium research base at local and national level.

Our research underpins the four pillars of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales’s Vision for Research and Innovation in Wales – excellence, place, innovation, and collaboration.

With a research focus on Welsh and Celtic Studies, Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Creative Writing and Performance, and Linguistics and Language Planning we are drawing on the distinctly Welsh culture of Bangor’s location and situating it in an international context. Our innovative research addresses current global concerns with a long chronological research time-frame from the medieval period to today.

Submitted Case Studies

Books stacked on their ends

UoA 27

English Language and Literature

Drawing on the distinctly Welsh culture of Bangor University’s location, researchers in English Literature and Creative Writing, Film, History, and Music are investigating the impacts of culture, society and the arts in national and international contexts.

Our three research focus areas are:

  • Material Texts and Material Culture - bringing together expertise in literary and historical texts and contexts across centuries, with a focus on materiality, adopting a historicist perspective, including the editing of early texts and music.
  • Cultural Connections: Wales, Europe and the World - focusing on the literary and historical negotiation of cultural boundaries within Wales and beyond. 
  • Creative Writing and Film - supported through the work of our five research centres: The Stephen Colclough Centre for the History of the Book, the Centre for Arthurian Studies; the R. S. Thomas Centre; ContemPo – the Centre for Contemporary Poetry; and the Centre for Film, Television and Screen Studies

Submitted Case Studies

Most Recent Research in this Area

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