Durham is one of the top science impact Universities in the world
(13 December 2004)
A new league table which ranks Durham as the second top science impact university in the United Kingdom has further underlined its reputation for the highest quality research and first-class student experience.
The league table published by the Times Higher Education Supplement lists the University of Durham 95th in the world’s Top 100 science universities from an opinion poll of world scientists. However, if this is reviewed on the basis the impact of research published in the world’s leading science universities, Durham stands at No. 18.
This puts Durham ahead of Cambridge and Oxford at the top of the UK rankings for science impact universities, second only to King’s College London.
Sir Kenneth Calman, Vice Chancellor, said today :”This is a remarkable achievement and it further emphasises the strength of our science departments. At a time when other higher education institutions are closing chemistry and physics departments, we are in the fortunate position of being able to invest in our sciences. We are looking to attract international-class researchers.” “Durham is the only 5** rated Chemistry Department in the North of England and our position is underpinned by our ongoing major programme of investment in staff and facilities in our science departments. We remain justifiably proud of our world-wide- reputation for teaching and research, especially in our science departments.”
For the fourth year running, Durham came out top in The Times survey of Physics and Astronomy departments. Durham research in Astronomy has also had the second highest impact in the whole of space science worldwide, according to ISI (the Institute for Scientific information), over the past decade, as measured by citations per paper. In the specific area of Dark Matter work, Durham was ranked number 1 overall in terms of citations per paper. The only other UK institution in the top 20 is Oxford at number 10.
As part of the implementation of the current Strategic Improvement programme the University is investing in a significant number of new academic appointments, including in sciences, aimed at further strengthening its position in the next Research Assessment Exercise. In a reversal of national trends there has also been a marked increase in the number of students taking up sciences at Durham. The 2004 intakes in both Chemistry and Physics were full and there were also increases in biological sciences and engineering. With fewer students nationally pursuing A-level chemistry, physics or sciences, there was also a noticeable increase in the calibre of this year’s intake at Durham.
The University of Durham is also committed to an ongoing programme of outreach work with local schools to encourage more young people to continue with science learning into higher education. The University is a leading regional partner in the new £51 million national initiative by the Department for Education and Skills and the Wellcome Trust to provide a national network of ten Science Learning Centres.
Work has just started on the building of the country’s only purpose-built Science Learning Centre at Framwellgate School in Durham. The University will play an important role by lending science expertise to support teachers who will use the Centre to enhance the delivery of science education.
Media enquiries to : Tom Fennelly Public Relations, University of Durham, el 0191 334 6078 e-mail : t.p. firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
- Durham’s latest achievement in The Times Higher Education Supplement league table is the fourth improvement this year in national newspaper league table rankings, having been runner-up in The Sunday Times University Guide 2004 rising from 17th to 11th and having risen two places to 8th in The Times and up three to 12th in The Guardian.
- Overall, Durham has the best completion rate for undergraduates among all universities apart from Cambridge. Durham maintains it place as the leading university in the North East. It is also placed among the national leaders in sciences and humanities.
- The Department of Chemistry in Durham has an excellent reputation for both teaching and research. Research in the Chemistry Department cuts across the traditional disciplines and is characterised by an interdisciplinary approach. A wide range of research is carried out. The Department has strong research activities in polymer and materials chemistry and has young, enthusiastic staff who are committed to the interdisciplinary approach that underpins the research strategy of the Department. The spread of research and level of activity resulted in the Department being awarded grade 5*A in the in the national Research Assessment exercise in 2001. The Department was also graded "Excellent", in the most recent HEFCE Teaching Quality Assessment exercise for Chemistry.
- The University is one of the leading physics departments in the UK. With a strong commitment to excellence in undergraduate teaching. Students study for degrees in Physics, Physics & Astronomy, Theoretical Physics and Physics & Mathematics. In the latest round of the HEFCE Quality Assurance Agency national assessment of university teaching standards Durham received the maximum possible rating of 24. Research ranges from fundamental topics such as elementary particle physics and cosmology to applied areas which receive substantial support from industry.
- Sir David King, The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, said when he opened the new Molecular Electronic and Microsystems clean room in the School of Engineering in October that such investment in science innovation provided the best facilities which allowed scientists to work at the leading edge of research.