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Professors play key role in assessing research

Three Edinburgh professors are to play a leading role in the process that assesses the quality of academic research in the UK.

They will chair three subject panels charged with helping the UK Government identify where the highest quality research is taking place.

As part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), Professors Charlie Jeffery, Moira Whyte and Greg Walker will help to ensure that the rules by which the research is assessed are fair and are applied consistently.

Alongside other academics from the UK and beyond, they will assess research in all the different subject areas in which research is carried out.

Research quality

The outcomes will inform funding for research in universities and increase the information available for the public about UK research quality.  

Research from the University of Edinburgh will be graded alongside that of all other Scottish and UK universities.

It will be graded according to the quality of research publications, the impact that the research has had on society and how well the environment in which academics work supports research. 

Strong performance

The main assessment will be made in 2021. The most recent REF results, in 2014, reaffirmed Edinburgh’s position as one of Britain’s leading research universities – and Scotland’s top-ranked research institution.

The results revealed that 83 per cent of the University’s research activity is in the highest categories – 4* and 3*– which are classified as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) results are important to universities not only because of their importance in driving research funding. They also inform the reputation of the university, and influence the choices of students and staff to apply to the university.

Leading role

Professor Charlie Jeffery will chair the panel assessing Politics and International Studies; Professor Moira Whyte will head the Clinical Medicine panel; and Professor Greg Walker will lead the English Language and Literature panel. 

Related links

Research Excellence Framework - 2014 announcement