Academically outstanding – our RAE results
In the last national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008),
the University of Essex was ranked ninth out of 159 universities in the UK for
the quality of our research, with most departments, schools and centres rated as
The RAE is a peer review exercise to evaluate the quality of research
in UK higher education institutions undertaken by the four UK higher education
funding bodies. The ratings are a strong indicator of the number and quality of
our research-active staff and the extent to which we create a supportive
infrastructure for research.
The RAE provided quality profiles for research in each submission of
research activity made by institutions. Profiles indicate the proportion of
research activity within a submission in each of the five quality levels:
- 4* = ‘world-leading’,
- 3* = ‘internationally excellent’,
- 2* = ‘internationally recognised’,
- 1* = ‘nationally recognised’ and
- unclassified = ‘below nationally recognised work’.
Our staff were submitted either within a departmental submission or
within a cross-departmental submission. The results of the RAE showed that of
our research activity:
- 22 per cent is rated as ‘world-leading’;
- 63 per cent is rated as at least ‘internationally excellent’; and
- 93 per cent is rated as at least ‘internationally recognised’.
Our last RAE also re-confirmed our place as the UK’s leading university for
the social sciences, with Government top, Sociology joint top, Economics third
and Linguistics fourth nationally. Our highest proportion of world-leading
research was in Government and in Economics with 45 per cent and 40 per cent
respectively classed as 4-star, while 35 per cent of research in Sociology was
classed as 4-star.
However, we also scored strongly in other fields, featuring in the UK’s top
ten in half of the 14 subject areas submitted. This included being second in the
UK for History and for Essex Business School (Accounting and Finance subject
area), ninth for Art History and tenth for Philosophy.