RAE 2008 confirms UCL’s multidisciplinary research strength

18 December 2008

Medicine, Architecture and the Built Environment, Laws, Economics and Philosophy are among the academic disciplines at UCL to have achieved outstanding results in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 published today, with UCL’s total number of full-time equivalent staff rated of world-leading quality third overall after Oxford and Cambridge.

UCL

The RAE is a periodic exercise conducted jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Department for Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland). It assesses the research strength of UK universities, and informs the distribution of public funds to the sector by the nation’s higher education funding bodies. UCL (which is also ranked seventh in the 2008 THES-QS World University Rankings) submitted over 1,800 staff in 49 of the 67 Units of Assessment. Details of these submissions can be found here.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost for Research, said: “The outcome of the 2008 RAE is hugely significant, because it is the major factor that influences the quality-related funding that we will receive from HEFCE, to be announced in March 2009. Although the results published today carry reputational weight, we can only fully measure their significance once we know the level of funding we will receive as a consequence.

“Nonetheless, it is encouraging for an institution that prides itself on its multidisciplinary strengths to find that we have achieved excellent results across such a wide spectrum. Our traditional strength in biomedicine has been clearly recognised, but we are also delighted in the strong performance of our staff in areas as varied as law, architecture and computer science.”

In the vast majority of UCL’s submissions, at least 50% were ranked at either the highest grade of 4* (‘of world-leading quality’), or 3* (‘internationally excellent’).

The following are some of the highlights:

  • Architecture and the Built Environment: 75% rated 3* or 4*;
  • Chemical Engineering: 75% rated 3* or 4*;
  • Cancer Studies: 75% rated 3* or 4*;
  • Computer Science and Informatics: 80% rated 3* or 4*;
  • Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences: 80% rated 3* or 4*;
  • Economics and Econometrics: 95% rated 3* or 4*, with 55% at 4*;
  • History: 40% rated 4* (the highest awarded by the History panel, with only Cambridge and Imperial (a very small dept) also being given the same percentage).
  • History of Art, Architecture and Design: 80% rated 3* or 4*;
  • Hospital-Based Clinical Subjects (including the Division of Medicine, Ear Institute, Institute of Ophthalmology, Institute of Child Health, Institute for Women's Health): 70% rated 3* or 4*;
  • Infection and Immunology: 80% rated 3* or 4*;
  • Law: 75% rated 3* or 4*;
  • Philosophy: 75% rated 3* or 4*, with 45% rated 4*;
  • Psychology: 75% rated 3* or 4*.

For comments from the heads of some of UCL's top-rated faculties and departments, please click here.