About the RAE

The RAE is a UK-wide exercise run on behalf of the four UK higher education funding bodies. It aims to provide quality profiles of research activity across the HE sector.

RAE Background

The first RAE was undertaken in 1986, with subsequent exercises held in 1989, 1992, 1996, 2001 and 2008.

The RAE2008 was conducted jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL).

Quality levels

The 1-5* rating scale used in previous RAEs has been replaced by a quality profile which identifies the proportion of activity reaching each of four quality levels ranging from 4* to unclassified:

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 standard 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 rigoured internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour
UnclassifiedQuality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work or which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of assessment

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