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Research Assessment Exercise Reveals Leap in Brunel Research Quality

  • Number of Research Staff Deemed to be of International Standing has Tripled to 82%
  • 10% of Research Staff Classed as World-Leading
  • 229 staff rated 'Internationally Excellent' or 'World-Leading' - an Increase of 100
  • Brunel Jumps up 10 Places in the Market Share League Table
  • University Excels in Engineering and Sports Research.

Brunel University today announces its success in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which assesses the quality of research carried out by all of the UK's higher education institutions.

A panel of judges from higher education institutions across the country rated 82 per cent of Brunel's research to be of international standing and 229 members of staff were rated either internationally excellent (3*) or world-leading (4*)1. The results also reveal that the number of staff conducting research at 'national' level or above has doubled since the last RAE in 2001. The University was particularly successful in engineering, in which all of the research submitted was of international standing or higher, and in sports related studies, in which Brunel's grade point average put the University in the top ten UK higher education institutions for this subject.

The RAE results are announced as Brunel University launches four Collaborative Research Networks, focusing on Ageing, Complexity, Energy and Environmental Sustainability and Security, Human Rights and the Media.

Submission Increase
Brunel submitted research from 87 per cent of its 629 academic staff - four times the average growth in submissions across the sector and a clear sign of the University's commitment to its research-intensive strategy. Research was submitted in 24 different subject areas ('Units of Assessment'). Based on this high submission rate and the University's 'grade point average'2, Brunel jumped more than 10 places from 47 to 37th in the 'market share'3 league compared to 2001. What's more, of the 547 members of Brunel staff submitted to the scrutiny of the RAE judging panels, 21 per cent were classed as 'Early Career Researchers', testimony to the University's dedication to delivering a sustainable, high quality research strategy.

Professor Chris Jenks, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at Brunel University, comments: “We have worked hard to create a thriving research environment that encourages collaboration, originality and a passion for solving challenges. Research that has a positive impact on society also has a positive impact on our colleagues, students and their learning experience. We are proud of the significant progress we have made.“

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Geoff Rodgers said: “Over the past seven years, Brunel has strengthened its support for research active academic staff in a number of ways, including the establishment of interdisciplinary research centres, streamlined research leave schemes for academics and more mentoring for less experienced academics. All this means that every member of our academic staff actively conducts research at the cutting edge of their discipline.“

About the RAE
The RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) is carried out approximately every seven years to evaluate the quality of research undertaken by British higher education institutions (HEIs). The Assessment is carried out on behalf of the four UK higher education funding councils (HEFCE, SHEFC, HEFCW and DEL).

Each HEI submits information according to a number of criteria for each subject area (known as a Unit of Assessment - UOA) in which the HEI has research expertise. Every UOA submission is evaluated by a specialist peer review panel to produce a quality assessment.

The quality assessments are used to determine the allocation of research funding that each higher education institution receives from the funding councils. The institutions with the most highly-ranked units of assessment will receive the highest level of quality-research funding (QR).

RAE2008 will be the last quality assessment undertaken in this way: from 2009, a new system called the Research Excellence Framework (REF) will be developed.