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About the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)

The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) provides a detailed profile of research activity in universities and colleges in the UK and is a recognised indicator of research quality, influencing student choice and the distribution of public funds for research. The funding outcomes of the assessment exercise are not known at the time of the announcement of the results.  The RAE involves submissions to independent panels of experts who assess the quality of research according to defined criteria.  Full details can be found at www.rae.ac.uk

The RAE provides quality ratings for research across all disciplines. Definitions of quality are based on a standard scale, ranging from 4*, which is the highest rating and indicates world-leading research, to unclassified which is of a standard below national recognition or outside of the definition of research. The full definitions of the quality scale used are given below.

The 2008 RAE is, therefore, unlike previous Research Assessment Exercises , which provided a single figure score for each unit of assessment using a scale of 5* (highest) to 1.   Single figure scores and the 5* designation are not provided in the 2008 assessment.   For full details visit www.rae.ac.uk

The grading system explained

4*

Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

3*

Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which nonetheless falls short of the highest standards of excellence.

2*

Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

1*

Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

u/c

Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work. Or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of this assessment.

The independent assessment panels assess the research submitted and determine the proportion of the research that meets each of four quality levels or is unclassified or fails to meet the published definition. In each case, the panel takes account of three overarching components of the submission - research outputs, research environment and indicators of esteem. The results are published as a graded profile for each Unit of Assessment for each submission. An example of quality profiles for a hypothetical submission is below.


Unit of assessment A

Full-time equivalent research staff submitted for assessment

Percentage of research activity in the submission judged to meet the standard for:

4*

3*

2*

1*

Unclassified

Title

50

15

25

40

15

5

For full details on the RAE 2008 visit:
www.rae.ac.uk