REF2021 - Economic History


Impact Case Studies

Leigh Gardner: Currency revolutions in Africa: creating an open access online resource


Left: Akan gold weight; Right: 100 dollars, Liberia © Smithsonian Institution


In collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, Leigh Gardner has developed new digital collections showcasing the monetary history of West Africa and South Africa. These currencies provide a window into the histories of trade, politics, and culture with different monetary forms used for different types of transaction. Changes in which currencies were used and where reflect the complex legacies of colonial rule and decolonisation. Curated sub-collections tailored to the history curriculum of schools in the United States and South Africa are available through the Smithsonian Learning Lab.

Read more about Leigh's case study: Currency Revolutions in Africa


Albrecht Ritschl: Raising historical awareness among German civil servants and economic policymakers


Image: Bundesministerium fur Wirtschaft und Energie


German government ministries have recently commissioned research to confront their Nazi past and to raise historical awareness among staff and the public. Albrecht Ritschl led a large research project on the history of the Economics Ministry, challenging the received view of profound disconnection of the pro-market post-war economy from its interventionist, near-socialist past. Instead, continuities and the importance of acknowledging their historic culpability were uncovered. Recognition of the past actions of the Economics Ministry has allowed it to reckon with its difficult past and contributed to the process of commemoration of those murdered and dispossessed.

Read more about Albrecht's case study: Raising Historical Awareness among German civil servants and economic policymakers


What is REF2021?

Click below for full details.


The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system by which the UK’s higher education funding bodies assess the quality of research in publicly funded UK higher education institutions (HEIs). REF 2021 comprised three elements:

  • academic outputs, comprising a portfolio based on the FTE of REF-eligible staff submitted;
  • research impact, submitted as a number of impact case studies (ICSs) in proportion to the total FTE of REF-eligible staff submitted;
  • research environment, comprising the total number of research degrees awarded between 2014 and 2020, total research income received over the same time period,
  • an environment statement detailing how the submitting unit(s) supported research and impact over the period.

Outputs, impact and environment were weighted 60:25:15 respectively. All three elements were graded on a scale from 0 (unclassified) to 4* (world leading) and the results were published as quality profiles showing the percentage of outputs, impact and environment considered to meet each of the starred levels. Submissions were invited to 34 Units of Assessment (UoAs); LSE made 15 submissions to 13 UoAs across the SHAPE subjects.

For REF2021, HEIs were required to submit research outputs by all eligible members of staff. Each submitted member of staff could submit between one and five outputs, with the total number of outputs per UoA calculated as total FTE of staff multiplied by 2.5.

Staff were eligible for REF2021 where they were on a teaching-and-research or research-only contract of at least 0.2 FTE on 31 July 2020 and had a substantive connection to the submitting HEI.