University reaffirmed as global research leader

The University’s position as one of the world’s leading research universities has been reaffirmed by the 2008 UK RAE results.

Golden boy reflected in Old College windows

World leading

Today’s results demonstrate that 63% of the University’s research activity is in the highest categories (4* and 3*), of which one third is recognised as “world-leading”.

These results reinforce the University’s ranking as 23rd in the world in the Times Higher Education’s international league table of universities, published earlier this year.


The University’s submission was among the largest and most comprehensive in the UK.

A total of 1,684 individuals, more than 90% of the institution’s academic staff, saw their research assessed across 39 subject areas.

Today’s results place the University in the top 5 in the UK and number one in Scotland by volume of 4* “world-leading” research.

The results also indicate that the University is home to 37% of Scotland’s 4* research.


The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine was rated top in the UK for medical research submitted to the Hospital-based Clinical Subjects Panel.

All of the work rated at the international level and 40% at the very highest “world-leading”.

The University's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies was the top ranked RCVS vet school in the UK with the highest percentage of "world-leading" research.

The School of Informatics is top in the UK for the volume of 4* research, with one in ten of the UK’s “world-leading” researchers being at the University.

It made the largest of 81 UK submissions in Computer Science and Informatics. Linguistics is rated top in the UK, based on the volume of 4* “world-leading” research.

English Literature has 40% of its research activity at the highest rating of 4*, placing it in the top 3 in the UK.

Strong performance

The Principal of the University, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, said:

"This is an exceptionally strong performance and equates to the work of more than 1,000 of my colleagues being rated as "world-leading" or "internationally excellent".

“Research at the University of Edinburgh is constantly expanding the depth of human knowledge and making an impact on the wider world, improving the quality of life for people in Scotland and further afield.

“It is our outstanding staff that attract the most talented students from around the globe and underpin our substantial economic contributions in terms of licensing, patents, spin out companies, as well as tangible social and healthcare improvements.”

Collaborative research

The University and its respective partner organisations are extremely pleased with the highly successful outcome in five collaborative RAE submissions.

The joint submission by The Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, which combines researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art, was rated 3rd in the UK by volume of research activity in the highest categories (70% at 4* and 3* combined).

The Universities of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt made joint submissions in three areas of Mathematical research; Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, and Statistical and Operational Research.

All three of these submissions were placed in the top 5 in the UK by volume of research activity in the highest categories (4* and 3*).

Finally, EaStChem, the joint Research School of Chemistry between Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities, achieved a top 5 place in the UK, producing more than 10% of the UK's world-leading (4*) research in Chemistry.