School of Informatics

Informatics Success in REF 2014

The School of Informatics has produced more world-leading and internationally excellent research (4* and 3*) than any other university in the UK in the REF 2014 assessment for computer science and informatics.

The School of Informatics has surpassed expectations in producing its best ever assessment result in the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The REF assesses both research outputs (such as scientific papers) and the research environment as previously considered by the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), last conducted in 2008. The REF also evaluates the impact of research, which was not considered by the RAE. In addition to improving its assessment scores across the board compared to RAE 2008, the School also produced excellent impact from its research.

Edinburgh research in Sociology, in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences and in Computer Science and Informatics was rated first in the UK, based on breadth and quality of research.

Professor Sir Timothy O'SheaPrincipal & Vice-Chancellor

Overall Results

The School of Informatics submitted more FTE staff than any other school or department of Computer Science. With a submission of 94.85 FTE staff, we were more than 20 FTE larger than the nearest competitor (Oxford, with 73.40 FTE staff).

  • 33% of our research outputs received the top grade (4*).
  • 48% of our impact case studies received the top grade.
  • 60% of our research environment received the top grade.
  • 40% of our REF submission overall received the top grade.

Comparison with the last Research Assessment Exercise

The success of the School of Informatics in RAE 2008 was impressive, but the REF 2014 panel concluded that we are in an even better place now, and producing even better research. Compared with RAE 2008:

  • More of our research outputs in REF 2014 were world-leading (4*).
  • More of our research outputs in REF 2014 were world-leading or internationally excellent (4* + 3*).
  • Our research environment is more highly rated than ever before.


The REF is about more than just citation counts and best paper awards, it also assesses the impact of research on society, industry and government policy, showing that research makes a difference in the world outside academia. The School of Informatics delivered even better results here.

  • 48% of our impact case studies received the top grade (4*, world-leading).
  • 80% of our impact was classified as world-leading or internationally excellent (4* or 3*).

The School of Informatics: A United Community

The School of Informatics is a collegiate, united community which celebrates all the research successes of its Category A (academic) staff. The School submitted a higher percentage of its Category A staff (at more than 97%, with 100% of our female staff included) than the average across the College of Science and Engineering (at 93%) and more than the average across the University of Edinburgh as a whole (at 83%).

Our success in the REF is not only a matter of academic strength. Every aspect of our research environment was judged by the REF panel to be world-leading or internationally excellent (100% 4*+3*). This reflects the commitment and dedication of every member of the School of Informatics to delivering excellent computing facilities, excellent student facilities, excellent laboratories, excellent technical support, excellent administrative support, excellent hardware facilities, excellent commercialisation, and excellence overall. Every member of the School of Informatics has contributed to our success.

Prof. Johanna MooreHead of the School of Informatics