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RAE confirms Queen Mary's place as a top research university

The results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, published today, confirm Queen Mary’s place in the very top group of research-led universities.

Thursday 1 January 2009

Acting Principal Professor Philip Ogden commented: ‘This outstanding result confirms that Queen Mary is one of the very top research-led universities in the UK and amongst the handful of world-class institutions in London. The success is the result of the talent and hard work of our academic staff in all disciplines - and the colleagues who support them - and a robust and carefully targeted research investment strategy over the past few years. My congratulations to all colleagues who contributed to this excellent result’.

The RAE was conducted jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL). RAE 2008 produced quality profiles for each submission of research activity made by each institution in each subject area. Funding implications will be known in March 2009.

According to tables published in today’s Times Higher Education, Queen Mary has been ranked 13th in the country out of the 132 institutions which submitted for the exercise. The Guardian places Queen Mary even higher, 11th in the UK.

The Times Higher comments “the biggest star among the research-intensive institutions was Queen Mary, University of London, which went from 48th in 2001 to 13th in the 2008 Times Higher Education table, up 35 places.”

Queen Mary is ranked third amongst University of London multi-faculty colleges and ahead of several Russell Group institutions, including King’s College London, Bristol, Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Southampton, Liverpool and Newcastle.

Queen Mary is also ranked ahead of several Russell Group institutions, including Bristol, Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Southampton, Liverpool and Newcastle.

Queen Mary has excelled in several subject groups, being in the top five in many, including:

  • Linguistics (ranked 1st ahead of UCL, Oxford and Cambridge)
  • Geography (ranked 1st equal with Bristol, Cambridge, Durham and Oxford)
  • Drama, dance and performing arts (ranked 1st for Drama, but 2nd equal in the unit of assessment with the department ahead of us not being entered for Drama)
  • Dentistry (ranked 2nd ahead of KCL and UCL)
  • English Language and Literature (ranked 2nd ahead of UCL, Oxford and Cambridge)
  • Epidemiology and public health (ranked 3rd ahead of Oxford, UCL and Bristol)
  • Pre-clinical and human biological sciences (ranked 4th ahead of KCL, Bristol and Nottingham)
  • Health Services Research (ranked 4th ahead of Oxford, UCL and KCL).
  • Cancer studies (ranked 5th equal ahead of Oxford, Imperial, KCL and UCL).

Queen Mary is also in the highest quartile in:

  • Law
  • Iberian Languages
  • History
  • Computer Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Other hospital-based clinical subjects

In addition, Queen Mary has recorded substantial achievements in a number of other extremely competitive subjects, including Russian, French, Materials, Politics, Pure Maths and Electronic Engineering. Business and Management, despite being a new department that was not entered at all in the 2001 RAE, has equalled the Cass Business School at City University in the Times Higher RAE ranking, coming within the top half of business schools.


The Guardian RAE 2008 League Table 

Average ranking
% 4*
% 3* plus
Staff entered 2008 (FTE)
Staff entered 2001
% staff entered 2001
Number of subjects
1The University of Cambridge2.97532.071.22040.391826.196.49%48
2The University of Oxford2.95931.870.32245.832023.8394.89%48
3London School of Economics2.95734.968.4490.36431.5797.19%14
4Imperial College2.94325.872.91224.571171.2887.38%21
5University College London2.84426.665.81792.681745.787.93%47
6The University of Manchester2.82323.165.41824.341204.1482.63%53
7The University of Warwick2.79921.364.9966.35714.3390.81%28
8The University of York2.78022.662.0653.87554.0693.41%25
9The University of Essex2.77222.162.9322.02313.8778.83%14
10The University of Edinburgh2.74722.562.81639.811365.2984.07%39
11Queen Mary, University of London2.72618.762.6686.82677.9590.00%29
12The University of St Andrews2.72419.259.5491.10359.289.48%26
13The University of Bristol2.72318.361.41198.701019.2687.14%46
14University of Durham2.72120.060.9759.30604.2386.76%30
15The University of Southampton2.71517.961.11097.96930.4289.52%32
16The University of Leeds2.71517.560.91269.661137.1477.21%46
17The University of Sheffield2.71518.760.41204.56955.675.80%46
18The University of Bath2.71118.759.6469.73421.5487.75%18
19The University of Lancaster2.71118.860.7611.39467.1490.14%22
20King's College London2.69319.059.81172.031157.9779.94%35

Research Assessment Exercise 2008

The 2008 RAE results have been expressed differently from the 2001 RAE. There is no longer a 1-5* rating scale. This has been replaced by a quality profile which identifies the proportion of activity reaching each of four defined 'starred' quality levels. These results are published at sub-panel (UoA – Unit of Assessment) level. The UoA quality profiles are reported as a percentage of research activity in the submission within each UoA deemed to meet each of the defined levels of quality (the star ratings). The overall quality profile comprises the aggregate of the weighted profiles produced for research outputs, research environment, and esteem indicators.

What are the definitions for each of the Star Ratings in the Quality Profile?

Quality LevelDefinition
4*Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigor.
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.
Unclassified (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 assessment.

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