School of Biological Sciences

REF 2014


UoA 7 Earth Systems and Environmental Science

Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences research at Portsmouth is primarily based in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences. Our research activities are carried out by 28 staff in five research groups: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring focuses on the impacts of chemicals in aquatic systems; Natural Resource Management and Modelling work on valuation of fisheries resources and marine protected areas; Biodiversity and Evolution have strengths in plant diversity and the study of evolutionary processes; the Environmental Microbiologyand Biotechnology group have a focus on preservation and degradation of marine woods, microbial ecology and anti-fouling technologies; the Crustal Evolution group are using cutting-edge technologies to gain new insight into the evolution of the Earth.  This activity forms a significant part of ‘Dynamic Planet’, one of three strands that constitute the University of Portsmouth Environment Network (UPEN), one of our cross-discipline themes  (

Our research has made a positive impact on society through development of new technologies and engagement with the media and public. Our impact case studies were all classed as world-leading or internationally excellent. These included the development of new methods to protect marine structures from bio-degradation and novel technologies for monitoring to support a cleaner environment. Communication of our science through TV, film and the press has stimulated worldwide awareness and debate on key scientific issues including the evolution of early life and the risks associated with nuclear power.   

A  map of international collaborators involved with our research can be found here: (

  • 100% of our research impact was classed as outstanding or very considerable in terms of reach and significance
  • 72% of our research outputs were classed as world leading or internationally excellent compared to 45% in RAE2008
  • The Grade Point Average of our research has risen from 2.40 in the previous submission to 2.78 and our Research Power Index has more than doubled
  • We are placed third out of the post-92 universities who submitted research in this area
  • Nearly twice as many research staff were submitted compared to the previous 2008 research assessment exercise
  • There was a three-fold increase in our research income compared to the previous assessment period


REF 2014 results: UoA 3 Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy

Our submission to this unit of assessment comprised research from the Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science (IBBS). The Institute includes staff from the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and serves as a focus for multidisciplinary research in the biomedical and related sciences.

Our submitted research covered four broad areas: Molecular Biophysics, Cell Biology and Pharmacology, Epigenetics and Developmental Biology and Biomaterials/Drug Delivery.  It included three impact case studies: anti-cancer drug design, new therapies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and ‘next-generation’ oral healthcare products.

IBBS is funded by external research grants totalling over £10m, principally from the UK Research Councils (BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC), the Wellcome Trust, the European Union and a number of brain cancer charities.

In the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), 55% of our research was recognised as being world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). The Grade Point Average (GPA) of our submission was 2.50.

We have built upon that research excellence in REF2014, both in the overall quality of our research and in its impact:-

  • 90% of our research was regarded as being 4*/3* (either world-leading or internationally-excellent), up from 55% in RAE 2008;

  • Our overall GPA for the submission increased from 2.50 to 3.12;

  • Our submission was ranked in the top 20 of 94 institutions for research excellence (overall 4*/3*);

  • 100% of the impact from our research was classified as 4*/3*; having outstanding and very considerable impacts in terms of reach and significance.  

  • Within the University Alliance group, we ranked 3rd out of 25 (overall 4*/3* activity).