Research assessment exercise 2008

The College achieved excellent results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), improving on our previous results.

Overall, 87% of our research activity was classified as being of international quality, and 57% was assessed in the two top categories of 4* and 3*.

How we performed

The College submitted the work of 693 colleagues, compared to 500 in the 2001 RAE, across 26 different units of assessment. This represented an increase between 2001 and 2008 of almost 200 research-active staff, or 40% of research activity.

Although Humanities and Social Science is one of three Colleges within the University of Edinburgh, it compares favourably in terms of the volume and diversity of its research activity with a range of other top-ranking UK universities. For instance, St. Andrews as a whole submitted 491 staff in 26 units, Lancaster University submitted 611 staff in 22 units, and York put forward 654 colleagues in 25 units.

World-leading research

In keeping with the performance of the University of Edinburgh as Scotland's leading research university, the College has world-leading research in a wide range of academic subjects:

  • Linguistics leads the UK, with 30% of 4* research
  • English Literature is 3rd in the UK and top in Scotland, with 70% of research of 4* or 3* quality
  • Theology shares 3rd place in the UK with Oxford and University College London, on the basis of its superb 4* result

Indeed, 18 of our 26 units of assessment are in the top 10 in the UK, and 11 are top in Scotland.

Perhaps the greatest improvement is in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, where the University and Edinburgh College of Art made a joint return which is comfortably in the top 10 for the UK.

'I am delighted to see such a strong performance across a highly diverse and wide-ranging submission. It is particularly pleasing that the College adopted such an inclusive approach, with more than 90% of our staff being returned for the RAE, and that the sheer quality of our world-leading research still shone through.'

Head of the College 2008/2009


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