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Strength and diversity of University of Reading’s research recognised in latest ratings exercise – University of Reading

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Strength and diversity of University of Reading’s research recognised in latest ratings exercise

Release Date 18 December 2008

The full RAE results from University of Reading The renowned research strengths of the University of Reading have been recognised in the outcomes of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) published today, with over 87% of the University’s research rated as of international standing¹. The RAE 2008 rates the quality of research in higher education across the UK. The University of Reading submitted the work of over 600 research active staff to the Higher Education Funding Council for England. This research was then classified in units of assessment related to the academic area as either 4* (world leading), 3* (international excellent), 2* (internationally recognised), 1* (nationally recognised) or 0 (sub standard). Professor Dianne Berry, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Reading, said: ”The RAE outcomes demonstrate that the University of Reading is an international leader in research areas that affect people’s lives such as climate research and food biosciences. The outcomes are testament to the ability and dedication of colleagues across a large number of departments and schools, from typography and graphic communication to construction management, archaeology and philosophy.” The University of Reading’s reputation as a world leader in climate research is reflected in its ranking in the Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences unit of assessment. The University’s Meteorology and Environmental Sciences research was the top rated environmental sciences department² in a unit of assessment that mixed geology and meteorology departments. Professor Keith Shine, Professor of Physical Meteorology, said: ”The University of Reading's climate, weather and earth observation research is leading the way in addressing some of the most crucial environmental issues facing society today, such as climate change, air quality and hazardous weather. Our emphasis is on developing a fundamental understanding of the physics of the atmosphere and oceans and this makes our contribution particularly significant at an international level." Both the departments of Archaeology and Typography & Graphic Communication were ranked second in the UK in their respective areas. Professor Grenville Astill, Head of Archaeology at the University of Reading, said: “Our ranking reflects the long and distinguished record of the department for practising humanities-based and applied science archaeology over many years.” The department of Typography & Graphic Communication was the first of its kind to be created in the UK. Professor Sue Walker, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, said: “Typography at Reading is concerned with 'design for reading', and covers history, theory and practice in information and editorial design, typeface design, and printing and design history. For some years Reading has been setting the standards for work in this area, in many ways establishing a new area of academic enquiry, and we are delighted that such a large proportion of our research has been recognised as world-leading and internationally excellent. We are also proud that our research has relevance and impact for ordinary readers, and we look forward to building on this excellent result in the future.” The University’s Philosophy department was the third best research-related department, ahead of both Oxford and Cambridge, while the department of Italian Studies produced the fourth best research. The research of the University’s Food Biosciences department was included within the category of Agriculture, Veterinary & Food Science. Although the University was rated joint fourth best in this broad category, in terms of pure food biosciences departments, it is joint second best department in the UK. Bob Rastall, Head of the department of Food Biosciences, said; “I am exceptionally pleased with the result, which is a tribute to the talent and hard work of all the staff.” The School of Construction Management is a world leader in teaching and research about the management, design and economics of engineered technologies in the built environment. In the unit of assessment for Architecture and the Built Environment, it was in the top three departments³ in the country for construction management, with its good showing based on the traditional research outputs of research papers and research grants. The Henley Business School’s School of Real Estate and Planning was ranked in the top two Real Estate schools in the Town and Country Planning unit of assessment. The majority of thoseuniversities ranked above it in the unit are predominantly planning-focused departments. In the competitive world of Law, the university’s research ranked as the 12th best in the country. In total, the University of Reading submitted the research of its departments into 32 units, incorporating 88% of eligible staff. The University departments do not always strictly correlate with the units of assessment as one of the key strengths of the university is its cross disciplinary research. The RAE results will be used to allocate over £1.5 billion each year across the Higher Education sector from 2009-10. More information at Watch our films showcasing research at the University of Reading ENDS Further information from Alex Brannen, Media Relations Manager, on 0118 378 7388

Notes to editors:

For comment and interviews, contact the University Press Office on 0118 378 7388 / 07834 006243. ¹15% of the University of Reading’s research was rated as 4*(world leading), 35.5% as 3* (internationally excellent), 36% as 2* (internationally recognised) – total 87%, 12% as 1* (nationally recognised) and less than 1% as 0 rated. ² The University ranked fifth in the unit of assessment for Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. However, the four institutions ahead in the ranking are predominantly geology departments. ³The school of construction management was ranked 7th in the unit of assessment for Architecture and Construction Management but a number of other institutions in the top seven do not conduct research in construction management.

Research and academic excellence at the University of Reading

The University of Reading is ranked as one of the UK’s top research-intensive universities. The quality and diversity of the University's research and teaching is recognised internationally as one of the top 200 universities in the world. The University is home to more than 50 research centres, many of which are recognised as international centres of excellence such as agriculture, biological and physical sciences, European histories and cultures, and meteorology. The University takes a real-world perspective to its research and is consistently one of the most popular higher education choices in the UK.

The RAE process 2008

The results for all Higher Education Institutions are available at A more detailed breakdown of the quality profile of each Reading unit, made up of research outputs, research environment and esteem, will be available in January. The

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