REF2014 gives a resounding accolade to university research

REF2014 is the successor to the previous assessment, the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), last conducted in 2008.  Significant improvement was found in the quality of research since the 2008 assessment.  On average across all submissions, 22% of outputs were judged world-leading (4*), up from 14% in 2008, and a further 50% were judged internationally excellent (3*), up from 37%.
Of particular interest to readers of Spinouts UK, the assessment provided for the first time evidence of the impact of research, counting for 20% of the overall assessment.  ‘Impact’ is defined by REF as any effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia.  On average across all submissions, 44% of impacts were judged outstanding (4*) and a further 40% were judged very considerable (3*).
Universities will be studying the results carefully to see how they compare with each other.  One example is the University of Strathclyde, which has found that its Physics department has performed better than any other in the UK (see report on Cascade Technologies exit, p4).  Taking 4* and 3* results together, just two university departments scored 100% overall:  Bristol’s Sport and Exercise Sciences, and Leeds’ Electrical & Electronic Engineering.  However, taking the Impact results alone, of the 6,975 submissions almost one in ten (674 submissions) scored 100% at 4* and 3* level.
Commercialisation activities comprise just part of the Impact results, but it is encouraging to see this aspect of university work receiving more attention.  Although we have reported a steady decline in the number of spinouts created by UK universities across the past few years, there is no doubt that interest in this form of commercialisation remains high, with investors such as Parkwalk Advisors and Mercia Technologies, recently admitted to AIM (see p6), making a strong case for the value of the companies in which they invest.
As we have commented frequently in the past, the invention is only the starting point for the application of university research to the needs of society, with implementation being the crucial element for success.  The article by Winning Pitch on p10 explores some of the issues arising in scaling up a business.  It is therefore welcome to see innovation from the university sector itself in improving the commercialisation process, one example being the iCURE project at SETsquared (see p5).
-   Jonathan Harris, Editor
Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), last conducted in 2008.  Significant improvement was found in the quality of research since the 2008 assessment.  On average across all submissions, 22% of outputs were judged world-leading (4*), up from 14% in 2008, and a further 50% were judged internationally excellent (3*), up from 37%.
Of particular interest to readers of Spinouts UK, the assessment provided for the first time evidence of the impact of research, counting for 20% of the overall assessment.  ‘Impact’ is defined by REF as any effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia.  On average across all submissions, 44% of impacts were judged outstanding (4*) and a further 40% were judged very considerable (3*).
Universities will be studying the results carefully to see how they compare with each other.  One example is the University of Strathclyde, which has found that its Physics department has performed better than any other in the UK (see report on Cascade Technologies exit, p4).  Taking 4* and 3* results together, just two university departments scored 100% overall:  Bristol’s Sport and Exercise Sciences, and Leeds’ Electrical & Electronic Engineering.  However, taking the Impact results alone, of the 6,975 submissions almost one in ten (674 submissions) scored 100% at 4* and 3* level.
Commercialisation activities comprise just part of the Impact results, but it is encouraging to see this aspect of university work receiving more attention.  Although we have reported a steady decline in the number of spinouts created by UK universities across the past few years, there is no doubt that interest in this form of commercialisation remains high, with investors such as Parkwalk Advisors and Mercia Technologies, recently admitted to AIM (see p6), making a strong case for the value of the companies in which they invest.
As we have commented frequently in the past, the invention is only the starting point for the application of university research to the needs of society, with implementation being the crucial element for success.  The article by Winning Pitch on p10 explores some of the issues arising in scaling up a business.  It is therefore welcome to see innovation from the university sector itself in improving the commercialisation process, one example being the iCURE project at SETsquared (see p5).
-   Jonathan Harris, Editorstart to type

Posted on Wednesday, 06 May 2015 under University news

 
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