Research assessment: RAE2008

The university tower in autumn

The RAE is a bench-marking exercise to measure the quality of research being conducted by universities across the UK.  It is an internationally recognised barometer of quality undertaken roughly every seven years.

In 33 subject areas, the majority of research at Glasgow was assessed as being world leading or internationally excellent.  This builds significantly on the University’s performance in RAE2001 when four subject areas received a 5* rating.

Glasgow submitted its research to the most vigorous assessment by subject expert panels.  Our results reflect the strategies pursued to build and support a world-leading research base, a  team of internationally excellent researchers and a high quality postgraduate research environment. They confirm our position as one of the top 100 universities in the world.

THES has produced a definitive list of rankings based on a Grade Point Average measure of quality. The following highlights which are based on these rankings.¹


Highlights of our performance in RAE2008

  • Glasgow submitted research to 48 out of a possible 67 Units of Assessment.
  • 33 subject areas have the majority of their profile classified as world-leading or internationally excellent.  These areas cover over 75% of submitted staff.
  • All subject areas in which the University made a submission are producing research that has been rated internationally excellent.
  • History of Art is the most highly rated of any university in the UK.
  • The School of Veterinary Medicine has been rated the joint best in the UK.
  • Glasgow’s research in Cancer Studies and Accounting and Finance is rated in the UK top five.
  • A further 14 subjects are rated top 10 in the UK including Cardiovascular Medicine, Infection and Immunology, Dentistry, Allied Health Professions (Nursing), Physics, Computer Science and Informatics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Town and Country Planning, Library and Information Management, Psychology, European Studies, Celtic Studies, English Language and Literature and Drama, Dance and Performing Arts.
  • 14 subjects are rated best in Scotland.
  • Glasgow is ranked 14th in the UK in the Research Fortnight’s RAE2008 Power Table.
  • Full University of Glasgow performance is available on the RAE 2008 website.

¹It is important to note that the new system of research profiles introduced for RAE2008 allows results to be interpreted in a variety of ways.  For example, taking Unit of Assessment 1 (Cardiovascular Medicine) and looking at the THES rank, Glasgow appears sixth in the UK.  If you compare which institutions have the most 4* rated research, however, then Glasgow ranks third in the UK behind only Imperial and Oxford.  If you compare which institutions have the most 4* and 3* rated research, Glasgow is in second position, again only behind Imperial.  The results are therefore open to a variety of different league table interpretations.