See the results in full on our REF2014 website.

University of Exeter rising star of internationally excellent research

The University of Exeter has been ranked 16th nationally* in the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), taking account of the proportion of staff submitted.

The University of Exeter has been ranked 16th nationally* in the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), taking account of the proportion of staff submitted.

We have world-leading research in all the units we submitted to REF with 82% of our research rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.

This is the first national evaluation of research quality in the UK since 2008 and looked at the economic and societal impact of research for the very first time. Exeter has risen hugely since 2008 (from 56% to 82% world-leading/internationally excellent research) and now ranks first in the South West, equal 19th nationally and 18th in the Russell Group on this measure.

Exeter performed extremely well in humanities and social sciences, whilst strengthening its capacity and research reputation in physical and life sciences, including entering the assessment for Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences for the first time ever.

Exeter has four subjects ranked in the top 5 nationally, eight in the top 10, and around 80% of its subjects in the top 20, based on their proportion of world-leading and internationally excellent research.

When looking at the very highest 4* grade for world-leading research, Exeter is now ranked 16th in the UK.

Prof Nick Talbot, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, University of Exeter said: “This is a very good set of results for Exeter with some excellent performances. Theology is ranked number two in the UK, Area Studies (comprised of Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies) number three, Politics number five and there are excellent results in Education and History as well. I am particularly pleased by Exeter’s position in the top 20 for Biological Sciences, Medicine, Physics and Engineering, as well as our new national standing in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. We have a growing reputation now as a science powerhouse which has been greatly enhanced by our collaborations with the Met Office, for example, and links with local and national industrial partners.”

The University’s strong research performance also extends to its Penryn Campus in Cornwall where all subject areas saw an increase in quality from 2008, with world-leading environmentally-focused, biosciences and sustainability research very prominent.

The University of Exeter contributes almost £600 million to the region annually; and a study by independent economic analysts, Oxford Economics, recently confirmed that the University of Exeter (UoE) and Falmouth University (Falmouth), who share and jointly manage the Penryn Campus, have contributed £491 million to the economy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly between 2002 and 2012.

Prof Talbot concluded: “REF2014 confirms Exeter as a centre of excellence for research, which has impact both regionally and nationally. It is great news for the regional economy and our staff deserve great credit for their hard work. We are an ambitious university and this is a fantastic platform for our future development as a world-leading centre for scholarship and education.”

Although the REF results give an indication of the overall quality of the research being delivered, since universities could choose how many staff they submitted, to understand the full picture for any given department you must take into account the proportion of staff who were submitted for assessment, or the 'intensity'.

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

Date: 18 December 2014

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