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Department of Classics and Ancient History

REF 2014 Departmental Results

How did the Department perform?

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the Department of Classics and Ancient History was ranked joint second in the UK overall by Grade Point Average. 86% per cent of our research was considered to be in the highest two categories assessed, world leading (4*) and internationally excellent quality (3*).

One of the components of the assessment was research environment, defined as the vitality and sustainability of the Department’s research community. We are delighted that the Department of Classics has been ranked joint first in the UK for a research environment that is conducive to producing research of world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) quality.

The REF also assessed research impact – that is, the reach and significance of the Department’s research beyond academia. Once again, the Department of Classics has been ranked joint first in the UK for world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) research impact. For an excellent example of the impact which Durham’s research in Classics is having, click here to learn about Dr Peter Heslin’s work on providing access to Latin and Greek texts to people all over the world, through free software which he has developed.

What is the REF?

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a method of assessing the quality of research at British higher education institutions. It assesses the research that has taken place during the period 2008–2013.

“The results of REF 2014 are another indication that students at Durham are taught by some of the best academics in the world. Their research informs their teaching to give them a world-leading education, making our graduates among the most sought after by international employers.”

Professor Ray Hudson, Acting Vice-Chancellor, Durham University

Why is the REF significant?

The four UK higher education funding bodies allocate about £2 billion per year of research funding to UK universities, based on the quality and volume of each university’s research. They aim to support a dynamic and internationally competitive UK research sector that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.

As well as informing funding allocations, the REF provides accountability for public investment in research, demonstrates its benefits, and provides important reputational yardsticks and benchmarking information about the research performance of UK universities.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) measured the quality and impact of research submitted by UK universities across all disciplines. Durham University’s research breadth and quality was demonstrated in a submission of more than three-quarters of staff from all three faculties across 22 Units of Assessment (subjects).

“Durham University research was almost universally assessed as being of international quality. These results confirm that Durham is an international research powerhouse carrying out a breadth of excellent research which has proven and wide-ranging societal impact internationally, nationally and regionally.”

Professor Claire Warwick, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)
click the image above to see the full ranking of REF 2014 results in Classics, via Times Higher Education