News & Views item - December 2008



RAE 2008 Published. (December 18, 2008)

The results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) have been published.


The chart gives the overall assessment of the research presented for evaluation by researchers from 159 of Great Britain's higher education institutions.



The full report can be obtained HERE.


The University of Cambridge just pipped Oxford for top score followed by the London School of Economics and Imperial and University College London.


However, analysis of the submissions also showed that : "a large amount of researchers are conducting low-ranking work in some of the top universities. Close to a third of research by the top six universities was rated two star or one star. The grade four star is considered world-leading. Some 28% of Cambridge's researchers scored one and two stars, as did 34% of UCL's researchers."


The Guardian reports: "Cambridge has the highest proportion of outstanding research in the UK. The university submitted 2,040 staff, 71% of whose work was deemed to be world-leading or internationally excellent, compared with 70% of 2,246 Oxford staff's research. Both universities submitted work in 48 disciplines" while The University of Manchester following its merger came sixth in the RAE rankings.


Whether or not the exercise, which handles some 1.5 billion per annum for departmental distribution beyond individual research grants is worthwhile is still hotly debated. "Critics accused the funding council of deliberately abandoning the collection of the data after complaints from universities opposing their use. The data would also have identified whether universities had been discriminatory in which researchers they submitted" thereby biasing the results.


For instance




Not until March 4 will the universities be told just who will get how much.