Research Assessment Exercise
The publication of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) on Thursday 18 December 2008 confirmed the University of Leicester’s position as a leading research university. It also revealed that the Department of Museum Studies at Leicester has the greatest cluster of world-leading researchers of any department, on any subject, in any university, anywhere in the UK.
Leicester also emerged as having one of the highest proportions of staff who are research active in the UK, with approximately 93 per cent of staff submitted for the exercise, of which 87 per cent were deemed by the RAE to be producing ‘internationally significant’ research.
"One of the reasons why the University of Leicester entered most of its research-active staff into the exercise was that we really value the work of all our researchers and not just the established ‘stars’," says Professor Ian Postlethwaite, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research. "It is important to encourage and motivate researchers at whatever stage they have reached in their career. To see, therefore, that 87 per cent of our research activity was judged to be of international quality was wonderful and a major achievement for the University."
"For more than 40 years, the University of Leicester has shown unwavering support for what is the only Department of Museum Studies in the country," says Professor Simon Knell, Dean of Arts. "Over that time Leicester has played a key role in turning a field devoted to training museum professionals into a research field capable of shaping social and intellectual agenda, and encouraging a profession to rethink its role. Its Research Centre for Museums and Galleries has, for example, contributed significantly to shaping national policy with regard to learning, disability and social inclusion. It has a leading role in developing new ideas about digital culture and is finding new ways to write histories."
Leicester’s success came in a year when the University celebrated several outstanding successes including being named Times Higher Education University of the Year 2008-9. The University is ranked 12th in the UK (out of 120 institutions) by the Independent’s Good University Guide and 14th by both the Guardian University Guide and the Times University Guide.
From 1986 to 2008, research quality was assessed every few years through the RAE to allocate research funding to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and to provide information on the quality of research in the UK. Between the 2002-3 and 2008-9 academic years, £10.1 billion was allocated to UK HEIs based on the 2001 RAE. The 2008 RAE was the last one; from 2009 the Research Excellence Framework (REF) will gradually be introduced which will have an impact on funding from 2013 onwards.