North East universities dubbed ‘powerhouses’ with strongest team of researchers outside London


The North East has the strongest research team outside of London after Northumbria University jumped up the prestigious power rankings.

Results from the Research Excellence Framework (REF2021) show that Northumbria University has the highest increase in research power ranking of any UK university.

Its search power ranking rose to 23rd, having reached 50th in 2014 from 80th in 2008, making Northumbria the industry’s highest search power ranking for the second time.

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Northumbria has given the city of Newcastle a second research-intensive university and, alongside Durham, has created a northern research powerhouse with the largest concentration of researchers outside of London.

Northumbria has built on its success by having a major influx of researchers conducting world-renowned and internationally recognized research over the past 15 years. The number of researchers has increased from 56 in 2008 to 207 in 2014 and 840 today.

At the same time, the quality and impact of research in Northumbria has increased dramatically. On power related to quality (QR), it ranks 28th, again with the biggest increase on this metric.

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria, Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, said: “Alongside a second major leap in research power, the University’s output has improved in quality, both in absolute and relative terms. , and his impact ratings jumped. This finding clearly takes us into territory once reserved for the Russell Group of Universities and other research-intensive institutions.

“Northumbria is the first modern university to cross the clear blue water that separated the old and new parts of the sector, and others are following.

“Already a global player in education, welcoming students from over 137 countries, Northumbria is now well placed to be a global player in research, acting as an ambassador for the North East.

“The city of Newcastle, combined with Durham, now hosts the largest concentration of researchers outside of London, creating a Nordic research powerhouse. This is important for the economy of the North East, for foreign investment – ​​public and private – for future collaboration between universities and businesses, and for leveling the impacts of research.

Elsewhere, 90% of Durham University’s research was rated as ‘leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the same analysis. Over 99% of Durham’s research has been classified as being of international quality, while 90% has been classified as world-class or internationally excellent*.

Durham University

The depth and breadth of the university’s research has been demonstrated by more than 1,000 research staff who have submitted research in 24 different areas – a 44% increase in enrollment since REF 2014.

Six areas of Durham were in the top ten in the UK for overall research quality, including geography (1st ), Archeology (2n/a ), Education (2n/a ), Classics and Ancient History (4and ), theology and religion (8and ) and Sports and Exercise Sciences (10and ).

Nearly 100 case studies have shown how Durham’s research has translated into real-world applications that have benefited society, culture, health, economy, politics and the environment.

Durham University Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Colin Bain, said: “Our research brings together the most eminent minds in their fields to work collaboratively across departments and with our partners to develop new ways of thinking that have a positive impact on societal and global challenges.

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“The Research Excellence Framework recognizes the benefits of this interdisciplinary work, which produces innovative research and is essential to improving global knowledge and developing global citizenship.

“We are looking for regional, national and international partners to share our academic expertise and the talent of our students, support their ambitions and ensure that our research makes a difference.

“We continue to increase our teacher numbers and have invested heavily in staff in subjects such as computer science, psychology, history, sport and exercise science, law and business. , and our new researchers have contributed to our strong performance in all of these fields.

“I am immensely proud of and commend all of our outstanding researchers and support staff whose hard work is confirmed in the REF results released today.”

Durham is one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions and is ranked in the world’s top 100 (82 n/a ) by the QS World University Rankings 2022.

Durham is also ranked 14 and globally for his contribution to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 17 in recognition of how he works with local, national and international partners to achieve sustainable development.

Newcastle University is also considered one of the leading research-intensive universities in the UK.

The REF results reinforce the University’s recent excellent performance in world university rankings which have improved since 2016 in Leiden (114th to 66th), QS (168th to 134th) and THE (190th to 146th).

Newcastle University
Newcastle University

And last month Newcastle was ranked first in the UK and 8th in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022. The ranking assesses a university’s work to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and research Newcastle’s leading edge in this area was key to achieving this.

Vice-Chancellor and President of Newcastle University, Professor Chris Day, said: “I commend all those within the University who have worked so hard to deliver the outstanding research that is reflected in today’s results.

“The results of REF2021 confirm that Newcastle University research, researchers and teams are recognized as visible leaders in their disciplines and changing the world for the better.

“The results also recognize the progress we have made on our vision and strategy. By working together and integrating research for discovery and impact with education for life, engagement and place, and global strategies, we increase research capacity and power.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Strategy and Resources, Professor Brian Walker, added: “We celebrate everyone’s contribution to our collective excellence, creativity and impact across all disciplines.

“I welcome REF2021’s move away from an outdated focus on individual scholars in favor of recognizing that research is a team sport and that the best research comes from the collective efforts of many different people.

The University of Sunderland
The University of Sunderland

“The results reflect our collective excellence and the growing diversity and capacity of our research teams. They also show how working with our partners and stakeholders has unleashed the economic and societal impact of our research, which is recognized as a major strength in Newcastle.

The University of Sunderland also celebrated its own successes in REF analysis, with more than 70% of published research ranked among the best in the world or internationally excellent. The University itself has doubled in proportion to these numbers since the last REF in 2014, and the University’s grade point average (GPA) has also increased significantly – rising by 30 places in total.

The university’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Sir David Bell, said: “Today’s results recognize the outstanding efforts, vast contribution and continued success of our research-driven academics. Through their work, society is shaped for the better and our students continue to benefit from the education provided by world-class experts and international excellence.

“The results of REF across the country as a whole demonstrate the vital role universities play in ensuring the UK continues to be a world leader in research and innovation. This brings social, economic and cultural benefits to individuals and communities across the country.

Research Professional News has ranked the best UK universities for research based on the latest analysis from the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Here are the top 30 universities in their rankings:

1. University of Oxford

2. University College London

3. University of Cambridge

4. University of Edinburgh

5. University of Manchester

6. King’s College London

7. Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

8. University of Bristol

9. University of Nottingham

10. University of Leeds

11. University of Birmingham

12. University of Sheffield

13. University of Glasgow

14. Cardiff University

15. University of Southampton

16. University of Warwick

17. Newcastle University

18. University of Exeter

19. University of Liverpool

20. Queen Mary University of London

21. Durham University

22. University of York

23. Lancaster University

24. Queen’s University Belfast

25. Loughborough University

26. London School of Economics

27. University of Sussex

28. University of Northumbria at Newcastle

29. University of East Anglia

30. University of Bath

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