In December 2008, the results of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which measures research performance across all UK universities, were announced. The outcome for Queen’s reinforced its position as a leading research-intensive university. The RAE identified areas of world-class research across all academic disciplines: Queen’s had 11 subject areas ranked in the top 10 in the United Kingdom and 24 in the top 20. Northern Ireland has, in Queen’s, a world-class university leading the way in areas central to our future, including engineering, medicine, the humanities and the professions.
As the University looks to the next assessment of research – the Research Excellence Framework (REF) – in 2012, it has developed a new Institutional Research Strategy. Its ambition is to further develop research quality and grow research income. The Strategy also aims to increase the number of staff and the quality of publications to be returned under the REF. The REF focuses on three elements – research outputs (to be assessed through expert review), the quality of the research environment, and research impact, which focuses on demonstrable benefits to society and the quality of life.
Staff and students at Queen’s work at the frontiers of knowledge and the University’s outstanding achievements have been recognised by the award of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize – part of the national honours system in the UK – on four separate occasions.
The University’s priority is to achieve nationally and internationally recognised research excellence in all of its many and varied disciplines, with world-class research in distinctive niches and thematic areas. An emphasis is placed on the expansion of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary activities.
Areas of research excellence at Queen’s range across the whole spectrum: from Creative Writing and Poetry in the Seamus Heaney Centre to the design of new catalysts for cars; from Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies to Vascular Biology and its implications for Vision Science; from Cognition and Culture to Renewable Energy; and from Drug Design and Synthesis to Healthcare for the Mother and Child.
Research at Queen’s is focused through a formal framework of Research Clusters and Interdisciplinary Forums, each led by an established research leader. There are 20 research-led Schools, comprising over 90 research clusters.
Queen’s impressive track record of achievement in research is also reflected in the development of world-class centres of research excellence across the full range of disciplines, and in the quality of its research partners around the world, from Georgetown University in Washington DC to the US National Cancer Institute in Maryland.