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Cardiff in top five for research excellence

18 December 2014


The quality and impact of Cardiff's research has led to a meteoric rise in league tables, pushing it into the UK's top 5 universities.

Cardiff University has broken into the "Golden Triangle" of Oxford, Cambridge and London, and confirmed its place as a world-leading university.

The University has climbed 17 places in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), a national assessment of research by the four UK funding bodies, making it the fastest rising amongst the leading research universities of the Russell Group.

Cardiff University key results are:

  • 5th university nationally on rankings based on quality
  • 2nd nationally on rankings based on impact, beaten only by Imperial College, London on this new measure
  • 5 out of 27 academic disciplines are first on impact. These are Architecture, Built Environment and Planning; Civil and Construction     Engineering; Communication, Cultural and Media Studies; General Engineering; Modern Languages and Linguistics (this included the School of Welsh)
  • 6 out of 27 academic disciplines are in the top 5 on quality. These are Civil and Construction Engineering (1st in UK); Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience (2nd in UK); Communication, Cultural and Media Studies (2nd in UK); Sociology (3rd in UK); Allied Health (joint 4th in UK); Education (joint 5th in UK)
  • 15 out of 27 of its academic disciplines are rated in the top ten on quality, competing against other universities as well as specialist institutions
  • 87 per cent of research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent
VC Bookcase

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said: "This extraordinary achievement marks us out as a world leader and puts Cardiff on the map globally and nationally.

"We are an extremely ambitious and innovative University and we are not afraid to set challenging goals.

"Achieving this outstanding result is a testimony to the excellence and hard work of all our staff.  It is part of a very clear strategic vision for the University, one that will see our reputation rise globally to the benefit of Cardiff, Wales and the UK."

The results of the REF, published today (18 December 2014), show the quality of UK higher education institutions' research across all disciplines and determine around £2 billion worth of funding annually.

For the first time, funding councils have sought to measure the impact of research, and again the University has performed outstandingly on this indicator, and is now ranked second in the UK.

The University set itself an ambitious target to come within the top ten UK universities when measured on quality, or grade point average (GPA).  

Professor Julie Williams, the Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, said: "I would like to congratulate Cardiff University for these excellent results. The Research Excellence Framework shows the higher education sector is producing high-quality, world-class research in a number of areas. It is particularly pleasing to note the progress made since the last assessment of research in 2008 and the impact that research is having beyond the academic world."

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