Skip to main content

Welsh and modern languages research number one in UK for impact

18 December 2014

REF - Modern Languages

Cardiff's commitment to advancing language research has been recognised for its outstanding quality and has achieved top marks for its impact in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), a national exercise that assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

The REF 2014 results published today (18 December) reveal that research by the School of Modern Languages and the School of Welsh in the Modern Languages and Linguistics unit of assessment is ranked 7th in the UK for research quality with 100 per cent of the research submitted achieving the highest possible 4* rating for impact, demonstrating outstanding reach and significance. This places Cardiff first in the UK for the impact of its research in this area.

Additionally, the quality of the research submitted is above the sector average with a GPA (grade point average) score of 3.21 and 84 per cent of the research rated as world-leading and internationally excellent, achieving top 4* and 3* rankings.

Research at the School of Welsh combines Welsh literature and language with a clear focus on policy application. The REF results confirm the School's position as a top destination for Welsh and Celtic studies in the UK.

Among the research recognised to have had field-leading impact according to the REF assessors was Professor Sioned Davies' acclaimed translation of the mythical Mabinogion into English. Her detailed re-examination of the text has enabled modern audiences to understand how it would have been performed and understood by medieval listeners, leading to a revival of the practice of telling the Mabinogion by contemporary storytellers.

In addition, the translation has been used to develop tourism trails such as the Twrch Trwyth Trail and a Mabinogion web portal and mobile app is being created to guide users to designated Mabinogion sites.

Professor Davies, Chair of Welsh and Head of School, said: "These results demonstrate that Welsh at Cardiff is a discipline that is flourishing and producing cutting-edge research in areas that have long been at the heart of the discipline as well as opening up fresh areas of activity at the highest level. Our impact on the Mabinogion and on Welsh language policy and planning demonstrates that clearly."

Research at the School of Modern Languages is multidisciplinary and encompasses fields such as critical theory and philosophy, cultural memory and conflict, film, adaptation and translation studies and disability studies. Research is global in reach and ranges from the literature and visual cultures of the Hispanic-speaking world to European popular culture and graphic novels and the role of translation in contemporary theatre and story-telling.

Researchers at the School work with organisations, such as the Imperial War Museum, Literature Wales, and international cultural and media programming organisations in order to inform and shape exhibitions, campaigns and media activity.

Head of School, Professor Claire Gorrara, said: "We are the only School of Modern Languages in the UK to be launched in recent years, demonstrating the University's commitment to teaching, scholarship and research in modern languages. We are absolutely delighted with these exceptional REF results which reflect the vibrant and innovative research community within the School and its ambitions and aspirations for future development."