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Durham University News

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Durham leads UK for impact of science research

(6 October 2005)

Science research at Durham University has more impact worldwide than work at any other British university, including Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College London, according to the latest international survey.

The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), in its annual science report, ranks Durham at the top of the citation table - the measure that reflects how research across all fields of science generates attention and influence and is referred to in other researchers’ publications.

This top-billing comes just a few days after Durham was named University of the Year in the Sunday Times University Guide for potential students.

Vice-Chancellor Sir Kenneth Calman said: “This is a week of double celebration for us. Our science is of the highest quality and the THES survey shows that key scientists around the world take note of what we do. The global academic exchange of knowledge, which is what these citations represent, is the life-blood of new discoveries. The fight against disease and poverty, the protection of the environment, the introduction of new materials and technologies, our understanding of atoms and the universe – all of these, and more, depend on the sharing of knowledge. These figures show that Durham is leading the UK’s contribution and that we are pulling above our weight.

“I am proud of all my colleagues in science for their excellent work and I am proud for the North East that in Durham it has such a significant international resource for scientific advance.”

Durham, ranked 11th in the UK in the worldwide survey, has 13.5 citations per scientific research paper published in academic journals. This is better than Cambridge 12.9, Edinburgh 12.5, Oxford 12.2 and Imperial 10.7. Durham also ranks second in Europe, after the ETH institution in Zurich.

Over the next few weeks, the THES is due to publish tables for other areas of research and an overall world league table.

Notes to editors

Science at Durham includes:

  • 8 science & technology departments where 94 per cent of staff are research-active, the vast majority engaged in research assessed as being of international importance, and the rest of national importance
  • they are Biological & Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology
  • cutting-edge research in nanoscale science, photonics, innovative plastics and other new materials
  • wide-ranging contributions to the prevention and treatment of disease, from basic cell functions and drug delivery to growth and development, memory loss, and the engineering of artificial human joints.
  • large scale e-science processes, applying massive computing power to different branches of research
  • specialist studies into the resources, nature and usage of the Earth including land, water, minerals, climate, crops, energy and pollution
  • major advances in the understanding of the universe, the basic building blocks of all matter and the underlying mathematical principles and applications that are the tools of science.
  • More than 15 spin-out companies turning scientific advances into business activity, that contribute to regional economic development
  • Science has the largest cohort of research students among the three university faculties; and more than a third of Durham’s 11,000 undergraduates – about 4,000 – are on science degree programmes.
Further comment:
Professor James Stirling, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research 0191 3346044

Or Keith Seacroft, Head of Media, 0191 3346077

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