Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Modern languages research ranked 3rd in the UK

We have been rated 3rd in the UK by Times Higher Education for the quality and breadth of our research in Modern Languages using the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

Our interdisciplinary community in Modern Languages produces innovative research that contributes, globally, to cultural enrichment and social justice.

Photo of panellists talking at an event with a graphic saying 3rd in the UK
Dr Charlotte Bosseaux (centre) and guest panellists at the third Whose Voice is it Anyway? symposium in 2018 on the translation of trauma and emotions. Photo © Hui Yao.

We are rated 3rd in the UK by Times Higher Education for the quality and breadth of our research using the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) - the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

Our REF performance recognises that our excellent work has a direct impact both nationally and internationally in politics, business and the third sector.

Particular highlights include the International Network of Scholars and Activists for Afrikan Reparations (Dr Nicola Frith) and important interventions in Gaelic language policy in Scotland (Professor Rob Dunbar and Professor Wilson McLeod).

We also support novel collaborations between academics and practitioners in the creative arts, especially film and theatre, and are proud to be home to translators of international standing.

Our research is multidisciplinary and international in nature, covering languages, culture and politics in Celtic and Scottish Studies, Modern European Languages, Middle Eastern and East Asian Studies, and working across many disciplines, including Memory Studies, Migration and Exile, Corpus Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Film Studies, Theatre and Performance, Disability Studies and Queer Theory.

With topics ranging from contemporary cultural responses to environmental catastrophe to language pedagogy, from analyses of nationalism and legacies of violence to developing Scotland’s literary and musical heritage, we set innovative research agendas that demonstrate the indispensability of language study and language-based research.

Excellence and impact beyond the UK reflects what drives our research on the countries and cultures we study, and it is great to see this recognised by REF. Beyond the Modern Language element of REF, which is just one part of a much bigger picture, our languages colleagues have helped the University of Edinburgh achieve excellence, and benefited communities, in assessed areas such as Politics, Sociology, History, Theology and Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies.

Professor Jeremy RobbinsHead of the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC)

The success of this joint submission with Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh is a tribute to the creativity, talent and hard work of all members of our research community. At a time of increasing nationalism and isolationism, our pioneering research and committed partnerships across borders support values of openness, internationalism and critical citizenship.

Professor Peter DaviesUnit of Assessment Coordinator for Modern Languages

Browse our directory of research projects in literatures, languages and cultures

Related links

Times Higher Education REF results table