Fifteen departments at Bristol University 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 were 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 rose to 36 from the 20 achieved in the last RAE in 1996. Seventy-eight per cent of the University's departments were 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.
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