21 January, 2021

An evaluation of British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has provided an objective assessment of its research excellence and impact. It concludes BAS is ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’.

Two independent panels evaluated six UKRI-NERC-funded research centres, who assessed the research excellence and the impact of outputs. The evaluation was based on the Research Excellence Framework (REF) methodology for 2021, which is also used to assess UK higher education institutions (HEIs).

The evaluation shows that BAS and the other five Research Centres are internationally excellent institutions, which make effective use of their income from NERC and a range of other sources to deliver high quality research and impact.

The majority of the research carried out by all the centres was considered to be either ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’ in terms of originality, significance and rigour. The majority of BAS impacts were considered to have had either ‘very considerable’ or ‘outstanding’ reach and significance.

Highly rated impacts were across a wide range of critical environmental and societal issues, including key contributions to reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); working with the media to communicate the problem of plastic in the oceans; protecting sensitive species and habitats in Antarctica; increasing safety in polar maritime activities through sea ice information; enabling sustainable fisheries in the Southern Ocean; and monitoring wildlife from space to aid conservation.

The results will be used to inform funding decisions, demonstrate the excellence and impact of NERC investments and environmental science, provide a tool for benchmarking with other research organisations, and improve performance.

Professor Dame Jane Francis, Director of BAS, says:

“We are delighted that our research and impact has scored highly in this assessment. A huge amount of effort goes into collating our results and impact, so it re-iterates the value of our science programme and from this the wider benefits to society.”

Read the NERC evaluation reports in full here: https://nerc.ukri.org/about/perform/evaluation/evaluationreports/