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Northern Ireland’s universities ‘world leading’

Resource type: News

Belfast Telegraph |

Some of the research by Northern Ireland’s universities is world-leading, a report said today.

Civil engineering, nursing and midwifery and electrical engineering were among subjects attracting the highest praise, a review by other colleges said.

The University of Ulster (UU) and Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) performed well in the UK-wide Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

Employment minister Sir Reg Empey said: “Research capability is vital for economic growth, competitiveness and the wellbeing of the community.

“Through their research activities and the transfer of knowledge, the universities are making a major contribution to the cultural, social and economic life of Northern Ireland and this is particularly important given the current economic climate.”

The exercise assessed the quality of research in all UK higher education institutions through peer review.

Northern Ireland saw strong performances over a range of subjects from law to art and design, with world-class performance also highlighted in biomedical sciences.

Sir Reg said 87% of all research activity submitted by our institutions was of international quality and 14% was judged to be world-leading.

“This strong performance reflects an increasingly strategic approach by the universities in focusing their resources selectively and in building on their strengths,” he added.

He said it was also evidence of the success of the considerable investment made by his department and the Atlantic Philanthropies foundation.

“Only this week I announced funding for two significant cross-border research projects and this, in addition to last month’s announcement of a £14.5 million research investment, will develop and strengthen links with Republic of Ireland research groups and provide social and economic benefits to Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland as a whole,” he added.

UU vice-chancellor professor Richard Barnett said he was enormously proud.

“For a regional university to achieve this level of research recognition is a superb accomplishment,” he said.

“This is great news for the university and for Northern Ireland.”

Queen’s has 11 subject areas ranked within the top 10 in the UK and 24 in the top 20. With almost 800 staff submitted, every area had research assessed as world-leading.

Vice-chancellor Professor Peter Gregson said: “Queen’s has strengthened its reputation as a major force in research.

“The research power index, which measures the quality and quantity of research, places us in the top 20 universities in the UK.

“Northern Ireland has, in Queen’s, a world-class university and today’s results demonstrate that Queen’s is a world-leader in areas central to our future including: engineering, medicine and the humanities.

“With all of engineering in the top 10, Queen’s is well placed to make a really strong contribution to economic development and the Programme for Government in Northern Ireland.”


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