Students Staff

18 December 2014

Essex firmly established as world leader in social science research

Downing Street

Essex is top for political research

Essex has re-confirmed its position as one of the UK’s top 20 research universities with our politics research ranked the best in Britain. The University is firmly established in the top five for social science research, with our research in economics, art history, sociology, sports science, philosophy and law rated in the top 20.

The University has now topped the UK ratings for the quality of its politics and international studies research in each of the last six assessments, dating back to 1986 when national rankings began. More than two thirds of Essex’s politics research has been rated as world-leading.

The results of the UK-wide Research Excellence Framework demonstrate that Essex undertakes  research which helps transform the world for the better, with our impact case studies  particularly strong in politics (rated 80% world-leading for impact).

Last year Her Majesty the Queen awarded Essex the unique accolade of a Regius Professorship in Political Science, recognising the University’s 50 years of excellence in research and education in politics. One of the youngest universities ever to receive a Regius Professorship, Essex was also one of just two UK universities to receive the accolade in a social science subject.

The University's ranking in the top 20 in the UK for research excellence, which measures both the quality of our research and the proportion of staff submitted to the REF, is the outcome of the University’s strategy of increasing the proportion of our staff submitted while maintaining research quality. 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “These results reconfirm Essex’s excellence in research. We have demonstrated world-leading research quality across a broad range of subjects, especially in social science and humanities. Our commitment to research-led teaching will ensure our students benefit from working with leaders in their field.”

The results come within months of the University being ranked sixth in the UK for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey (NSS).

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) replaces the national Research Assessment Exercise, which was last carried out in 2008. More than 150 higher education institutions in the UK submitted over 52,000 members of staff to the REF, across 36 subject areas. Nearly 7,000 research impact case studies were submitted. You can view a selection of our impact case studies online. The results will be used by the UK’s higher education funding bodies to allocate around £2 billion each year to university research.

Find out more about the REF

Updated February 2015

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