Research Assessment Exercise Wales 2008

The term 'world class' or 'world leading' is one that is often bandied around in policy circles in Wales.

Therefore, many in higher education have been waiting, with some anticipation, for the results of the latest Research Assessment Exercise which rates various departments according to their research excellence.

The top mark of 4* equates to 'world leading' research and 3* to internationally excellent. Overall, 17 per cent of UK university departments fell into that 4* category and 37 per cent into the 3* category.

There will be many ways that HE institutions will examine this data and I am sure marketing officers across the sector are working on ways to spin the results.

However, it is worth noting that there is world leading research IN EVERY UNIVERSITY in Wales, and the trick is to build on this success across the sector. In particular, HEFCW and the Welsh Assembly Government must not forget the 4* researchers within our smaller institutions that, unlike the prevalent view of some elitists within our educational system, clearly have much to offer the nation in niche areas of expertise.

Finally, I would like to list and congratulate those departments that have scored more than the national average as 'world leading research departments' and for putting Wales amongst the best globally in their subjects. I am particularly pleased that CAWCS - the University of Wales' only research centre - has had some of the best ratings in Wales and is going to head to head with Cambridge as the leading institution in Celtic Studies.

(The proportion of 4* research is in brackets).

Aberystwyth
Computer Science and Informatics (25%)
Geography and Environmental Studies (20%)
Politics and International Studies (40%)
European Studies (20%)
Celtic Studies (25%)
Drama, Dance and Performing Arts (30%)

Bangor
Electrical and Electronic Engineering (30%)
Psychology (20%)
Music (25%)

Cardiff
Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology (20%)
Allied Health Professions and Studies (20%)
Computer Science and Informatics (20%)
Civil Engineering (25%)
Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering (20%)
Architecture and the Built Environment (20%)
Town and Country Planning (30%)
Business and Management Studies (35%)
Law (25%)
Sociology (25%)
Psychology (25%)
English Language and Literature (35%)
Communication, Cultural and Media Studies (45%)

Swansea
Allied Health Professions and Studies (20%)
Computer Science and Informatics (25%)
Civil Engineering (35%)
Celtic Studies (20%)

University of Wales
Celtic Studies (35%)

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