Posted on 18/12/2014
The biggest research assessment in the world today (Thursday 18 December) confirmed that Royal Holloway has been recognised again as one of the world’s leading research centres for Geography.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF), reported that in its assessment for Geography 86% of our research has been classified as 4* and 3* defined as world leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour. The Department is ranked second in the UK, and the top English university using this measure.
The Department is also ranked second in the UK using a grade point average. The Department increased its GPA from 2.8 in the last assessment (RAE 2008) to 3.26 in REF 2014.
100% of our research impact was graded at 4* or 3*, with a remarkable 60% of our impact work graded as ‘world-leading’, demonstrating our contribution to the wider culture, economy and society. The Department is in the top 5 Geography Departments in the UK for its Impact work, as measured by GPA.
REF 2014 recognised the strength of our research environment, which reflects our successes in competitive research funding and in the supervision of PhD projects, as well as our dynamic research culture and excellent facilities. The Department is 6th equal for Environment among UK Geography Departments as measured by GPA, with 75% of our research environment graded at 4* and 100% at 4* or 3*.
Where the department fitted into the wider results can be seen below:
Overall Grade Point Average (GPA)
| || University || Score |
| 1 || University of Bristol || 3.33 |
| 2 || Royal Holloway || 3.26 |
| 2 || University of Cambridge || 3.26 |
| 4 || London School of Economics || 3.25 |
| 5 || University of St Andrews || 3.24 |
| 6 || University of Glasgow || 3.23 |
| 6 || University of Oxford || 3.23 |
| 8 || University College London || 3.19 |
| 9 || University of Durham || 3.18 |
| 10 || Newcastle University || 3.17 |
Proportion of Research graded as 4* (World-leading) or 3* (Internationally Excellent).
| || University || Score |
| 1 || University of Glasgow || 88 |
| 2 || Royal Holloway || 86 |
| 3 || London School of Economics || 85 |
| 4 || University of Bristol || 84 |
| 4 || University of Cambridge || 84 |
| 6 || University of St Andrews || 83 |
| 6 || University of Oxford || 83 |
| 6 || Queen Mary University of London || 83 |
| 9 || Newcastle University || 82 |
| 9 || University of Southampton || 82 |
Head of Geography, Professor David Gilbert said,
‘This result is a remarkable achievement for the whole Department. It’s well-known that UK Geography plays a leading role in shaping the research agendas of the discipline across the world. Being ranked second in the UK, as measured both by Grade Point Average and by proportion of world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) research, indicates Royal Holloway’s significance as a centre for geographical research and thinking.
It’s striking that our profile has strength across the board — in our published outputs, in our impact and public engagement, and in the excellence of our research environment. It shows how much this has been a team effort, that includes all staff in the Department – academics, technicians and administrative staff have all played a major role in this achievement.’
Since the late-1990s Geography at Royal Holloway has consistently been identified as one of the UK’s top departments in successive research assessments. The result for REF 2014 reinforces this distinguished research reputation.
The REF 2014 was undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies and the results will be used to determine research funding from 2015-16.