Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008
The results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise have now been published. The exercise assesses the quality of research, discipline by discipline, in UK higher education institutions.
The results show the strength of the UK research base in more detail than ever before, identifying excellent research of all kinds, including interdisciplinary and applied research. They confirm the dominant position of UK universities in international research.
Northumbria University made submissions in 12 of the 67 units of assessment and in total submitted 225 researchers.
Work judged ‘world-leading’, rated 4*, has been identified in nine out of twelve of the subject areas in which the University submitted. Work judged ‘internationally excellent’ and rated 3* has been identified in all areas in which the University submitted. No area has less than 60% of its research rated at international level (4*, 3*, or 2*).
Professor Andrew Wathey, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, said:
“The Northumbria University RAE result in 2008 is a real success, showing significant improvement on our performance in the 2001 RAE. It is an all-round success, with a boost in every area. The result provides a strong platform upon which the University can build further gains, as well as the confidence to invest more purposefully in research in the future.”
“Particularly pleasing is the proportion of work of the University’s submission rated at either 4* or 3* - 35% across the institution as a whole – and that 77% of the staff submitted are internationally recognised. The results demonstrate clearly the presence of focussed research strength across the University, which together with new areas will serve as bridgeheads for the further growth and development of the University’s research activities.”
Particular areas of success include Architecture and the Built Environment, General Engineering and Nursing and Midwifery, in each of which 50% of the work was rated 3* or 4*, closely followed by Art and Design where 45% was rated 3* or 4*.
Professor Wathey continued:
“Research, or knowledge creation, is a vital activity in its own right but it is also a cross-cutting thread in all the other things that universities do.”
“Research-driven excellence is crucial to our mission, and this result is a strong endorsement of the strength of the University and of its capacity to build achievement in the future.”
The levels are:
- 4* - Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality,
significance and rigour.
- 3* - Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which nonetheless falls short of the highest standards of excellence.
- 2* - Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
- 1* - Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
- Unclassified - Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work. Or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of this assessment.
The results for Northumbria show an overall improvement on the University’s position in the 2001 RAE, from 89th to 75th in tables based on average grades (excluding specialist institutions). Download PDF here for full tables. Northumbria’s performance in these tables shows the largest overall improvement of any university in the North East.
The University’s performance has also improved in the majority of areas in which it submitted in 2001.