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Politics and International Relations (PIR): News


REF 2014 Results: PIR ranked 8th in the UK for research

PIR ranked 8th in the UK for research

PIR has been ranked 8th best in the UK in the area of politics and international studies, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF2014). This ranking is based on a combination of research quality, and the volume of staff (the widely used 'Research Fortnight power index' ranking).  In addition, we were ranked 6th based on the quantity of research considered world-leading, or 4*. The results also revealed that PIR has quadrupled its 4* research in comparison to the last comparable assessment, conducted in 2008. PIR also receives an overall UK ranking of 8th in the Times Higher Education "research power index".

REF2014 also assessed the whole (100%) of PIR's research environment as achieving the highest possible rating - "4* world-leading" - an accolade achieved by only two other UK departments in politics and international studies.  PIR's research was also judged to have an outstanding or very considerable impact outside of academia. Fifty percent of our impact was deemed ‘outstanding’, and 50% ‘very considerable’ in terms of its socio-economic reach or significance.

This outstanding result has been achieved through adopting an inclusive approach to the REF2014 exercise, with 90% of the subject area's staff being submitted (a total of 35 people or a full time equivalent of 34.05).  The 7th largest submission in the UK, our submission showcased research from across the department, reflecting the breadth of the department’s research interests and approaches.

PIR was deemed to be top ten across a range of rankings:

  • 6th best on volume of 4* research
  • 7th best on the QI Power ranking
  • 8th best on proportion of 4* research
  • 10th best in terms of average score, or grade point average

There were 56 submissions altogether in the area of politics and international studies.

Speaking about the REF2014 rankings Professor Ailsa Henderson, Head of Politics & International Relations at the University of Edinburgh said:

We are extremely pleased with the REF results, which show a remarkable 400% increase in our 4* work and by various measures have us ranked 6th, 7th or 8th in the UK.  We chose to return 90% of our staff, so the figures are a testament to the high quality work across PIR as a whole and this is reflected in the fact that we were one of only three departments with a 100% 'world-leading' research environment.  We have excellent staff and students at Edinburgh and I am delighted that their hard work has been recognised in this way.

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