David Gauntlett

RAE 2008: University of Westminster best in UK for media and communications research

We are very pleased that the Communications and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), at the University of Westminster, has been judged to be the best in the UK for media and communications research, in the results of the latest Research Assessment Exercise, released in December 2008.

The UK's Higher Education Funding Councils run a Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) every six or seven years, to assess the quality of research in all subjects across all UK universities. Research is assessed, in a massive exercise, by specialist expert panels who read substantial samples of research books and articles by every researcher submitted, and also consider other indicators of esteem and international reputation.

CAMRI submitted the work of 16 researchers. 60 per cent of this research was judged to be at the very highest level - "world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour" (the top, 'four star' ranking). All of the work was judged to be "recognised internationally" and 90 per cent of the total was rated "internationally excellent".

For comparison, only 17 per cent of research across all universities and all subjects was judged to be "world leading". At the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, an average of 32 per cent of research was at this four-star level.

You will see from the Times Higher table (right) that the University of Leicester's entry for museum studies actually tops the chart, but Leicester's entry for media and communications is at number 19. Museum Studies is a different subject, apparently entered into the RAE by only one department, and happens to be bundled into this unit of assessment. But Leicester's separate entry for media and communications makes it clear that CAMRI is top for this subject.

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Source: Times Higher Education,
18 December 2008