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Department of Archaeology

REF 2014 success for Durham Archaeology

Christmas and New Year greetings to everyone involved with Durham Archaeology, past and present. The results of the REF, the Research Excellence Framework, were published on 18th December and Durham has done very well. For those of you not familiar with the REF, this is a national grading exercise in which the articles and books, 'research environment', 'research impact' and all the scholarly contributions of members of the department since 2008 are assessed and scored by an independent panel. On the basis of the REF results, HEFCE and the three other UK higher education funding bodies currently distribute some £2 billion of funding. The results are also used by league table compilers, which influence Durham University’s reputation both in the UK and internationally, so 18th December was an important day for us.
The main headlines for Archaeology are that some 73% per cent of our research overall was considered to be of internationally excellent quality or world leading, that is, both 3* and 4* (4* being the maximum awarded). This consists of the overall assessment of outputs, environment and impact. 35% per cent was assessed as 3* or "internationally excellent” and 38% per cent as 4* or "world leading". A further 27% per cent was classed as 2* or “recognised internationally”. This gives our Unit of Assessment a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.11, which means that we are ranked second in our discipline nationally out of 29 departments of Archaeology. Needless to say, league table compilers may make their own calculations so our rankings may vary slightly if further variables are introduced. For example, Durham has been ranked top in 'research intensity', confirming not just the quality but the depth of our research.
Needless say we are absolutely delighted with this result which demonstrates our ranking at the top of the league tables for research excellence as one of the best two departments of Archaeology in the UK.