According to the results of a large study examining the output and real-world impact of 76,000 academics, UK universities are producing more world-leading research than previously divulged.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) outcomes are based on grading roughly 186,000 pieces of academic research from 2014 to 2021, with the results used to split up about GBP 2 billion in annual government funding.
Oxford University conducted world-leading research and submitted the most research compared to any other university, with more than 3,600 researchers in 29 academic areas.
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Based on the Research Professional News, a specialist journal that tracks funding, Oxford's "market share" of funding was expected to drop from 6.24% in 2014, following the previous REF, to 5.7%.
University College London was ranked second, with 93% of its research being classified as "world-leading" or "internationally excellent."
The University of Cambridge ranked third, the University of Edinburgh ranked fourth, followed by the University of Manchester which ranked fifth in terms of international research. At Cambridge, 93% of entries were deemed 'world-leading' or 'internationally exceptional,' with 91% of STEM proposals receiving the same designation.
Overall, the "golden triangle" of Cambridge, Oxford, and London universities had a tiny reduction in the share of top-class research, while smaller institutions had larger pockets of high-quality research.
Northumbria previously leapt from 80th to 50th rank in the 2014 REF. Newcastle University and Durham University, are now a "northern research powerhouse" with the largest city-area concentration of researchers outside of London.
The two-year peer assessment by REF revealed that 41% of the research submitted by Northumbria University was worthy of a four-star "world-leading" grade, while 43% obtained three stars for being "internationally excellent."
Lancaster University and Loughborough University also outperformed two Russell Group research-intensive universities, with Lancaster University topping Queen's University Belfast and the London School of Economics in the rankings.
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The REF results, as per Sarah Richardson, editor of Research Professional News, are critical in allowing institutions to obtain longer-term, more flexible streams of "quality-related" financing.
It is critical for institutions and researchers since it covers continuous costs such as wages and early-stage seed money for projects, while also allowing them to plan for and invest in research capacity rather than just funding each research project, added Richardson.
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Source: The Guardian; Mail Online