Issue date: 12 December 2001

The University of the West of England (UWE) has seen over 70% growth in research strength according to the latest research assessment exercise (RAE) out today. The research output of over 300 staff has contributed to nationally excellent ratings and output of over 100 staff showed evidence of international excellence.

Accounting and Finance in the Bristol Business School, known for its work in financial reporting, taxation and investment decision-making, achieved international recognition. It ranked second in the country only to Manchester Business School and LSE. Bristol Business School was rated excellent earlier this year for its teaching, with the Accountancy and Finance area winning a prestigious national teaching fellowship award.

Politics, which also has an excellent rating in teaching, achieved full national recognition putting it on a par with Cambridge, Durham and Nottingham. The assessment exercise recognised the area's contribution to defence, regionalism, intellectual property rights, e-democracy and politics of the internet.

Other areas achieving strong national and international recognition included history, English, communications, culture and media studies, law and art and design.

Nursing, a strong new submission, was recognised amongst other things for its contribution to research in cancer care, drug education and evidence based medical practice.

Alfred Morris, Vice Chancellor said, "The University is keen to match its excellent teaching reputation with a markedly international research environment. I am delighted that this Research Assessment Exercise has recognised our major achievements thanks to a fast growing and accessible research culture in UWE."

Linda Skinner, Director of the University's Centre for Research, Innovation and Industry said, "UWE already commands a strong reputation among industry for research. This latest peer evaluation reinforces the growth of research at UWE and the breadth of our research which benefits industry, government and society."


Editor's notes

1. The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is published on 14 December. It assesses the quality of research in UK universities to enable the Higher Education Funding Council of England to distribute public funds selectively on the basis of quality. The RAE was last conducted in 1996. The ratings range from 1 to 5* (with 5* highest), according to how much work is judged to reach national or international levels of excellence.

2. The research strength ("research power") of a university is measured by the university's research rating and the number of staff selected for research. UWE's research power has improved by 71% since 1996.

3. 322 UWE staff were submitted for the RAE in 2001

4. UWE's strongly research rated areas showing evidence of international excellence were:

Accounting and Finance, which achieved a 5 rating with 7 staff submitted.

Politics, which achieved a 4 rating with 13 staff submitted.

History, which achieved a 4 rating for, among others, its contribution to business history, Soviet and Eastern European history, regional history and slavery. 18 staff submitted.

English, which achieved a 4 rating for, among others, 19th century romantic writing, 20th century studies, supernatural novels and creative writing. 17 staff submitted.

Communications, culture and media studies, which again achieved a 4 rating for such work as science communication, computer games culture, and virtual communities. 11 staff submitted.

Art and Design which achieved a 4 rating for its research in fine print, digital media, public and commemorative arts and practice based arts and craft. A total of 26 staff submitted.

Law which achieved a 4 rating for its contribution to human rights, criminal law (including liquor licensing) and commercial law among others. 12 staff submitted.

5.Some other areas submitting large numbers of staff and gaining strong external recognition were:

Computer science which submitted 21 staff. Many of these staff have been involved in significant international collaborations. These include the California Institute of Technology, CERN and the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Its traffic management work has been adopted by Swedish government agencies and has won substantial funding from US Government Departments.

Studies allied to medicine, biomedical sciences and environmental science, which between them submitted 42 staff. Biological sciences which also has top marks in teaching was also given a special mention in the RAE

Town and Country Planning which submitted 24 staff.

6.UWE's full results will be available on www.uwe.ac.uk at 00.30 on Friday 14 December.

7.Some two thirds of UWE research funding comes from non-government sources.

Back to top