The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) is a peer assessment of the quality of UK universities' research in all disciplines during the period 2008-2013. Submissions and results can be viewed on the REF2014 website:
Feedback from the UoA9/Physics sub-panel states, “There was increasing evidence for pooling of resources in regional groupings, as pioneered during the period of RAE2008 by the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA). SUPA has gone from strength to strength and resulted for the first time in a joint submission in Physics (Edinburgh and St Andrews) to an RAE or REF exercise”.
The five SUPA partners that submitted to UoA9/Physics all improved on their overall Grade Point Averages (GPA) between RAE2008 and REF2014, and all performed well in the new category of ‘impact’. The Strathclyde submission achieved the top ‘overall’ GPA for Physics in the UK out of a total of 41 submissions, with the Edinburgh/St Andrews joint submission, PHYESTA, coming 3rd equal. On ‘output’ quality, PHYESTA was rated 2nd in the UK, while on ‘impact’ all Scottish submissions are in the top 15 in the UK with Strathclyde in 2nd place. The research strength of SUPA collectively (overall GDA x FTE submitted) exceeds that of the big 4 in England, i.e. Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and UCL, and PHYESTA alone is fourth, ahead of UCL in research power.
Interdisciplinary contributions of physicists are very apparent in Scottish REF2014 submissions. Three alliance partners submitted all of their physicists to other UoAs: Aberdeen (Mathematics), Dundee (Engineering & Life Sciences) and West of Scotland (Engineering) while Heriot-Watt and Strathclyde both submitted a significant number of their Physics academics to Engineering. It is also recognised that a number of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics Schools/Departments include staff with Physics backgrounds/PhDs.
The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE2008) is a peer assessment of the quality of UK universities' research in all disciplines during the period 2001-2007. All submissions and results can be viewed on the REF2014 website:
The outcome of the RAE2008 ranking showed a significant uplift in the research performance of physics in Scotland (compared with RAE2001), with the overall ‘Grade Point Average’ placing St Andrews 2nd (equal); Edinburgh 5th and Glasgow 6th (equal).