View all news

World-class research triumph

Press release issued: 12 July 2002

World-class research triumph

Fifteen departments at Bristol University have achieved the top grade of 5* in the rigorous 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The grade is awarded only to world-class departments that are setting the global research agenda in their fields.

A further 21 Bristol University departments have been awarded grade 5, which signifies international excellence.

Across the sciences, the quality of research at Bristol has emerged as among the very highest in the UK.

The RAE is an independent assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions conducted for the funding bodies.

The number of Bristol University departments in the top two grades has risen to 36 from the 20 achieved in the last RAE in 1996. Seventy-eight per cent of the University's departments have been judged as world class or internationally excellent, and 76 per cent of all the academic staff work in departments ranked at these levels.

The RAE, which grades university departments from 1 to 5*, is the basis on which research funding of around £1 billion per year is allocated. The results also help to guide investment decisions by industry, charities and other organisations that sponsor research, and give potential students and staff an insight into the quality of UK universities.

Bristol University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eric Thomas, said: "We're very proud of these results, which put the University firmly in the top echelon nationally. Self-congratulation is not our style, but if ever there was a time for us to celebrate, this is it.

"I pay tribute to the whole University community. So many talented people work very hard to produce research that has an impact in this country and across the world. In the process, they keep the University in the UK premier league and strengthen its position as a key player on the international stage."

An increasing amount of the University's research is being exploited commercially. In 2000/01, eight new companies were "spun out" from its research. Many more enterprises are in the pipeline, most of them in high-tech fields, and the University has become a major force in the region's "knowledge economy".

As well as scoring highly for research, the University has emerged from a separate but equally rigorous series of assessments with an overall rating of "excellent" for teaching. This is a key reason why Bristol continues to attract more applicants per undergraduate place than any other UK university offering a full spread of subjects.


It has been revealed that two of the University's experts in statistics are among the top six mathematicians in the UK, and that its Department of Mathematics as a whole is in the top 20 in the world.

The University has over 2,000 academic staff active in research and 1,500 full- and part-time research students.

The University has 27 Fellows of the Royal Society among its academic staff.

The University spends about £75 million a year on research.

Between 1995 and 2005, a capital investment of nearly a quarter of a billion pounds will be made in University facilities for research and other key priorities.

The University has 120 patents and receives over £500,000 a year from licensing new technologies.

The University led the successful bid for the NESTA FutureLab - the "blue skies" learning research project launched by the Rt Hon Estelle Morris and Lord Puttnam in December.

The multi-million-pound MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity was launched in December by Sir George Radda, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, at the University's School of Medical Sciences.

The University's £18 million Research Centre for Neuroendocrinology is now under construction in Marlborough Street.

The internationally significant Bristol Institute of Hellenic and Roman Studies was launched earlier this year.

In recent weeks, Bristol University academics have won prestigious awards for research in earth sciences, physics, classics and ancient history, mathematics and geographical sciences.

14 December 2001

Link to RAE results

Back to archive

Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Friday, 12-Jul-2002 10:07:49 BST

Edit this page