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Inspiring research

Interdisciplinary research is an engine to innovation and a hallmark of Exeter’s recent success. Our research bridges the gap between the arts, humanities, social sciences and pure sciences to tackle global challenges, such as food security and ageing, in a holistic way. Professor Nick Talbot, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Research and Knowledge Transfer

Our research activities play a central role in our success. Our research income doubled in the five years prior to 2013 and we have a growing reputation for research excellence, as evidenced by our excellent performance in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

We are particularly committed to encouraging new ideas and nurturing talent, and as such we boast an extremely high number of early career researchers at Exeter. Thirty per cent of our academic staff are early career researchers currently– a much greater proportion than across the entire HE sector. This makes the University of Exeter one of the very best places to pursue postgraduate study and research.

REF 2014

  • We are ranked 16th nationally taking account of the proportion of staff submitted.*
  • 98 per cent of the University of Exeter's research is of international quality.
    This is a significant increase since RAE 2008 when 82 per cent of our research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • Our world-leading (4*) research has increased from 17 per cent to 29 per cent compared to the RAE in 2008.
  • Our market share of world-leading or internationally excellent research has increased by 22 per cent.
  • We have nine Units of Assessment in the top 10 nationally for world-leading or internationally excellent research with three in the top five.
    Theology (2nd), Area Studies, Archaeology (3rd), Politics (5th), Sociology, Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, Public Health, Biological Sciences.
  • We rank 16th nationally for world-leading (4*) publications and 11th in the Russell Group.

You can find out more about our REF 2014 results at our dedicated REF 2014 website.

Doctoral Training Partnerships

As part of our sustained commitment to developing new talent and building research capacity, we continue to invest millions of pounds in our research infrastructure, and we are one of only a handful of universities to have successfully secured Doctoral Training Partnerships with each of the UK Research Councils. 

Research in Cornwall

Our research success is not confined to our campuses in the cathedral city: the Penryn Campus provides the opportunity to study alongside outstanding researchers in an unrivalled environment. The campus is home to a number of leading academics, including a number independently funded by the Royal Society, NERC and the Leverhulme Trust, along with the Environment and Sustainability Institute, a £30 million interdisciplinary centre leading cutting-edge research into solutions to problems of environmental change.

*Not including specialist institutions, or those with anomalous data.