University of Dundee

Life Sciences research makes Dundee top University in UK for biological sciences

18 Dec 2014

According to The Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF 2014), the main test of research quality carried out by higher education funding bodies, Dundee is the top University in the UK for Biological Sciences.

Dundee recorded the highest level of 4-star, or `world-leading’, research in the biological sciences of any University in the UK, and also achieved an outstanding set of results across the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering & maths - where the University’s quality profile was the highest in Scotland.

REF 2014, which replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (last conducted in 2008), assessed research for quality and impact and the results, published this month will be used by the funding bodies - who between them allocate about £2 billion per year of research funding to UK universities, based on the quality and volume of each university’s research.

The University’s efforts to deliver on its vision of transforming lives locally, nationally and globally is also reflected in high scores for `Impact’ across many of its research areas, from clinical medicine, which was first in the UK, to social work.

“This is a very strong result for Dundee and testament to the hard work of our staff across the University,” said Professor John Connell, Vice-Principal for Research at the University of Dundee.

“We already have an excellent reputation around the world for the quality and impact of the research carried out at our College of Life Sciences but it is still a tremendous achievement to be ranked the top institution in the UK for biological sciences research.

 “Impact has been a key measure of quality in the REF so I am delighted to see we have been recognised for great achievements in that aspect across much of the research we do. Our mission as a University is to transform lives locally, nationally and globally and the impact of our research is vital to our success in meeting that goal.”

Professor Julian Blow, Dean of Research at the College of Life Sciences, was instrumental in the co-ordination and submission of the University’s research and impact outputs for Biological Sciences. He said, “I’m delighted at the result. Our reputation for the quality of our life sciences research has been reaffirmed, but REF 2014 also required us to demonstrate the real-world impact of our research, providing accountability for public investment in research and evaluating its benefits.

“It is particularly satisfying that the impact of our research on the local and international, economy, healthcare and the environment is also now being formally recognised by the UK Higher Education funding bodies.”

The Research Excellence Framework is conducted jointly by the four UK funding bodies for higher education - the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, and Department for Education, Northern Ireland - provides important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of UK universities.

They aim to support a dynamic and internationally competitive UK research sector that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.