Universities in Birmingham are celebrating after being recognised for carrying out "world-leading" research.

The University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, Aston University and Newman University are among those to be hailed in the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

REF assesses the quality of research being carried out by higher education institutions across the UK and is used by funding bodies to decide whom they will hand out cash to for research.

The results revealed 90 per cent of Birmingham City University's research was either "outstanding" or "very considerable".

The university now carries out research in 11 subject areas that REF deemed as "world leading", "internationally excellent" or "recognised internationally".

Vice-chancellor Professor Cliff Allan said the university's research had impacted on a range of business developments and influenced public policy including studies which had influenced death penalty policy and practice around the world.

He added: "The results show the real-world impact of our research, emphasising we are a practice-based university that actively contributes to society and the economy, through involving businesses, the public sector and charities in our work.

"Moving forward, our new research and enterprise strategies will enable us to do more and better research, ensuring new knowledge aligns increasingly with the needs of society and the economy."

Meanwhile, the University of Birmingham's department of history was ranked the best in the country, with 87 per cent of its research rated as "world-leading".

Professor Nicholas Crowson said: "We are delighted the quality and scope of our research has been recognised."

Elsewhere, 80 per cent of the research carried out at Aston University was praised as "world leading" or "internationally excellent".

Research in health, business, electronic and computer engineering was among the top studies to be praised.

Newman University, in Bartley Green, was also celebrating after research in education, English, history, psychology, sport and theology were all recognised.