Scotland recognised for world-class research

Written by Louise Wilson on 13 May 2022 in News

All 18 institutions across the country saluted by new report

Credit: Fernando Zhiminaicela/Pixabay 

Every university in Scotland delivers world-leading research, a fresh assessment has concluded.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) – which takes place every few years to assess research performance in higher education institutions across the UK – found all 18 Scottish universities delivered the highest quality research in at least one discipline.

Of the research submitted to the REF by Scottish institutions, 85% of it was judged to be “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” – slightly ahead of UK universities on 84% as a whole.

The REF is used to benchmark the quality of research against other institutions around the world and is used by financial backers looking to invest.

Universities Scotland, the umbrella group, said the REF has proven the worth of the research sector.

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Director Alastair Sim called for more investment to ensure the sector remained competitive.

He said: “Having world-leading research in every institution in Scotland is a huge asset for this nation. Public investment in university research crowds in private investment, generating a bigger economic return with a multiplier of 8:1. Our research creates clusters of growth and innovation around new and emerging industries, catalysing external investment within Scotland and the wider world which ultimately creates jobs. It is imperative that Scotland maximises this opportunity and leverages the potential that exists with research for sustainable economic growth.”

Scottish universities made up four of the top ten universities for research in architecture, the built environment and planning.

Three institutions made the top ten for mathematical sciences.

The last REF exercise took place in 2014 and found 77% of Scottish research was “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”, though methodological changes mean a direct comparison cannot be made with the latest edition.

The exercise also measured the impact of the research, finding 87% received a four- or three-star rating – the top two levels.


About the author

Louise Wilson is a journalist at PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood, where this story first appeared. She tweets as @louisewilso.


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