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Quality profiles

Introduction to the RAE2008 quality profiles

The quality profiles displayed on this website are the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE2008), the sixth assessment in this current format of the quality of research conducted in UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The UK funding bodies for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will use the RAE2008 results to distribute funding for research from 2009-10.

The results follow an expert review process conducted by assessment panels throughout 2008. Research in all subjects was assessed against agreed quality standards within a common framework that recognised appropriate variations between subjects in terms of both the research submitted and the assessment criteria.

Submissions were made in a standard form that included both quantitative and descriptive elements. Full details of the contents of, and arrangements for making, submissions were published in 'Guidance on submissions' (RAE 03/2005).

The RAE quality profiles present in blocks of 5% the proportion of each submission judged by the panels to have met each of the quality levels defined below. Work that fell below national quality or was not recognised as research was unclassified.

4* Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
3* Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which nonetheless falls short of the highest standards of excellence.
2* Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
1* Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
Unclassified Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work. Or work which does not meet the published definition of research for the purposes of this assessment.

The 'international' criterion equates to a level of excellence that it was reasonable to expect for the UOA, even though there may be no current examples of such a level in the UK or elsewhere. It should be noted that 'national' and 'international' refer to standards, not to the nature or geographical scope of particular subjects.

The results can be viewed on this website in two formats, either by subject unit of assessment (UOA) or by institution. Alongside each submission's quality profile is the FTE number of Category A staff included in that submission. Where the quality profile awarded is to a joint submission made by two or more HEIs, this is noted in the relevant UOA table.

A more detailed description of the assessment process leading to the quality profiles and tabulated results by UOA are available in pdf format on the RAE website at