Posted 18 December 2014
It has been announced today that all research conducted by Harper Adams University is of international quality and that more than 50 per cent is either world leading or internationally excellent.
The news comes as results of the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions have been released.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) has replaced the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and will be used as a means to allocate around £2 billion per year of research funding to UK universities, based on the quality and volume of each institution’s research.
Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn, said: “We are delighted to have made such significant progress in this major exercise to assess the quality of UK university research.
“Conducting research of direct relevance to the agri-food sector, whilst also addressing new technological developments and the challenge of global food security, have been fundamental elements of our strategy.
“We have clearly shown that our research is of international standing, with elements that are world leading, and this will further strengthen our research activities in the years ahead. Our overall rating also confirms our position as the leading specialist higher education institution for agricultural research in England.”
Since 2008 when the RAE was last conducted, Harper Adams has significantly increased its number of research active staff – making nine professorial appointments in areas such as agricultural engineering, entomology, soil science, sustainable energy and plant pathology.
Alongside the recruitment of a further 21 research active academic staff, this represents a significant investment for the institution, and has led to the creation of three interdisciplinary research centres in precision farming, integrated pest management and soil and water management.
To support these increases, the university’s infrastructure has also seen investment – a figure that totals more than £15m since 2008.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Mills, said: “Since the last RAE, Harper Adams has been dedicated to increasing the amount of high quality research undertaken by staff, students and researchers, and to also improve the environment in which they work.
“In turn, this has led to an increase of more than 800% in research income from diverse sources.
“This income has allowed our academic staff to conduct essential research into exciting new areas such as biofumigation, waterproofing wheat crops and precision farming.
“Our top ten professorial staff have around 25,000 citations from other scientists around the world, clearly demonstrating the quality of the research undertaken by them.
“Today’s announcement confirms the distance that Harper Adams has moved towards delivering internationally excellent research.”
The REF has been undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies, which includes the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
The assessment, which includes 154 UK universities, provides accountability for public investment in research and provides evidence of the benefits of this investment.
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