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Department of Physics

RAE08 & Durham University - in context

The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise or RAE08 aimed to produce quality profiles for each submission of research activity (Unit of Assessment or UoA) made by higher education institutions.  

The four higher education funding bodies (HEFCE, HEFCW, DEL and SFC) will use the quality profiles to determine their grant for research to the institutions which they fund with effect from 2009-10. Any HEI in the UK that is eligible to receive research funding from one of these bodies was eligible to participate.

The results of the RAE determine how much money the University will be awarded for its general research activities as well as feeding in to league tables.  Durham University is a medium-sized higher-education institution with a renowned, research-led culture and success in RAE08 in terms of both the volume and quality of our research input reflects this commitment to excellence. 

Durham University’s International Quality

The University submitted a higher number of research active staff than any of our comparator institutions in the 1994 group of Universities.

90% of the research which our staff submitted was assessed as being at least of International Quality (2* and above) in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

This is a higher percentage than many of the larger institutions which form the Russell Group of UK universities, of which Durham is part. 

See an overview of Durham’s RAE success



Professor Tom McLeish, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Durham says: "This is an excellent set of results for Durham University reflecting the international breadth and significance of our Departments’ research." Professor Richard Abram, Head of Physics, adds “that the result confirms Durham as one of the country's leading centres of physics research.

It is particularly satisfying that the 69.5 staff submitted included many young research fellows in addition to all our regular members of academic staff. Thus the outcome is not only recognition of the Department's outstanding research achievements, but also signals an immensely exciting future and points to Durham Physics as an excellent place to study and work.”

What does Durham's RAE result really mean for prospective students?

With 90% of Durham’s research assessed as being of International Quality and examples of World-Leading (4*) research excellence in every department, you are guaranteed to study in an academic environment of great quality. More importantly, we invite you to actively participate in our research environment through seminars, conferences, workshops. If thinking of coming to Durham for post-graduate research at PhD or Masters level you will know that you are entering a research environment second to none, will be receiving the guidance of scholars and researchers at the very front of their field internationally, and be given the chance to participate in your chosen research field at the global level. Our RAE result sits alongside our recent ranking of 4th in the Times Good University Guide.