Physics and Astronomy


Our research lies at the forefront of fundamental physics, ranging from quantum information processing, quantum optics, and cold atom physics through a programme of top-rated particle physics experiments, to the theoretical understanding of space, time and matter.

Find out more about our research centres and groups


Our research in REF 2021

We're delighted with our performance in the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF 2021). 

Our Department of Physics and Astronomy’s research (as submitted to UoA 9 - Physics) was assessed overall to be 42% ‘world leading’ (4*) and 52% ‘internationally excellent’ (3*). We are particularly pleased that our research environment was so highly rated with 75% considered to be conducive to producing research of world-leading quality and enabling outstanding impact in terms of its vitality and sustainability. This is borne out by the results we achieved with more than 95% of our research outputs rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. We also made major advances in the impact of our research with 87.5% assessed as having very considerable or outstanding reach and significance. Examples of our research impact range from commercialising quantum computing and nanoparticle-based inks, to influencing public policy, and drought forecasting in Kenya. We feel privileged to work with such talented colleagues carrying out important research in a strong and inclusive research environment.

Across the University of Sussex as a whole, 89 per cent of research activity submitted to REF 2021 was categorised as either ‘world-leading’ (40.6 per cent) or ‘internationally excellent’ (48.4 per cent).

The results of REF 2021 were published on 12 May 2022.

See all REF results and read the stories behind the research we submitted.


Discover more about our World Leading Research at Sussex.

See our latest physics and astronomy-related research news.

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