New assessment commends world-leading research carried out at Royal Agricultural University

12 May 2022

More than half of the research carried out at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has been commended as world leading and internationally excellent, and the University’s research is at its highest ever level, according to an assessment of all UK universities’ research activity published today.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), evaluates the quality and impact of research at UK universities across all disciplines. It grades research from nationally recognised (1*) to world leading (4*) and is carried out every five years. The last publication was in 2014 and this most recent report was delayed due to the pandemic.

The RAU put forward more staff for REF 2021 than in the previous 2014 assessment and the results mark a significant improvement for the University from the 2014 analysis, making the RAU among the most improved universities in the country.

RAU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter McCaffery, said: “We are delighted that we have ranked so highly. This result puts the Royal Agricultural University on the map as a world leading specialist institution for sustainable farming and land use. It will enable us to build on this research and invest in new areas and facilities and to offer world class research and education.”

Professor Mark Horton, Director of Research at the RAU, added: “To be able to say that the majority of our research work is of an international world-leading quality is a major breakthrough for the RAU. Our academics are really excited in being able to make a real contribution not just in pure research, but in applying this to the real world - where agriculture and farming are facing such enormous challenges.”

The RAU’s overall results recorded 52% of the University’s research being classed as 3* or 4* meaning it is world-leading or internationally excellent. In addition, half of the University’s scientific publications were deemed to be of international quality.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair of the Governing Council at the RAU, said: “‘This is such an exciting result for the RAU. As the world’s oldest agricultural college, we now are keen to develop our research to help solve the world’s climate, food security, and biodiversity challenges.”