Life and Environmental Sciences Research

Researcher looking at test tube

College shines in Research Excellence Framework 2014

The College of Life and Environmental Sciences has performed extremely well in the Research Excellence Framework (2014) with a huge percentage*  of research across its four Schools rated as world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).

*between 76 and 93 per cent of their activity scored as 4* or 3*

How our schools performed

The results placed the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences among the top three in the UK, highlighting its world-class research programme with societal impact, including helping ‘hard to reach’ communities to adopt and maintain more active and healthier lifestyles. The opening of the Sport Policy Centre will further strengthen the ties between first-class research and innovative policy making in years to come.

Psychology was ranked 5th in the UK for its 4* research retaining its position as one of the best Psychology schools in the country, combining world-leading research with society impact.

The School of Biosciences saw improvements in every measure moving to 6th place in the Russell Group for its combined 4* and 3* research.

And the great majority of the research in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences is rated world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).


Dedicated to exploring and learning about the diversity and evolutionary challenges of life in all its forms, Life and Environmental Sciences has –

  • Internationally-recognised strength in teaching and research
  • Exciting initiatives in new fields of study
  • Effective collaboration between schools
  • Excellent research facilities

Research in our four schools:

There are a very wide range of academic interests within and between each of the Schools; in fact the College receives funding from six of the seven Research Councils. Many academics have a shared interest in the way in which organisms, from microbes to humans, interact with each other and their environment.

There has never been a more important time to understand the mechanisms that underpin these interactions, given the challenges that societies from across the globe are facing with regard to, for example, climate change; the security of energy, food and water supplies; and lifelong health and wellbeing.

Cross discipline research:

A defining trait of the College is the way in which experts from across a breadth of disciplines from the biomedical to the social sciences engage to address shared research challenges and to deliver research-led teaching to our students. There is a strong commitment to academic excellence, intellectual rigour and addressing societal needs, evident both in the academic schools and in our interdisciplinary research centres and institutes.

Video transcript

Research in the College has been supported by significant investments from the University and we have recruited three cohorts of Birmingham Fellows. The Birmingham Fellows receive a five-year research fellowship, unparalleled training and mentoring and a permanent faculty position at the end of their fellowship. The College will continue to invest in the Fellows in the coming years. Our research is supported by a broad range of funders and awards have grown by 72 per cent over the last five years. This reflects external recognition of the importance of our discovery and translational science, and we work with strong partners locally, nationally and internationally.

International partnerships

Partnerships with international research leaders are an important priority for us, ensuring that we operate at the cutting edge and can lead the field in our areas of specialisation. We also play key roles in supporting the University’s signature international initiatives, e.g. research on hydrology and cognitive neuroscience with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; research with key universities in Brazil on sport and exercise sciences and leveraging the legacy of sport mega events; collaborations with Indian Universities such as the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore on TB; and a diversity of research and education collaborative projects in China.

Research in 60 seconds - video gallery
Research in 60 seconds - video gallery