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School of Modern Languages Research Excellence

12 May 2022

Research at Scotland’s oldest university is amongst the highest quality in the country.

Over 83% of research carried out by the School of Modern Languages at the University of St Andrews is world-leading or internationally excellent, according to the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) published today (Thursday 12 May).

The REF – a detailed analysis of the research strengths of all UK universities – found that St Andrews excelled in a number of key research areas – including Modern Languages.

Professor Seán Allan, Head of the School of Modern Languages, said: “We are delighted that 41% of our research has been assessed as 4 star ‘world-leading’ by the REF panelists. This is 22% above the UK average for the sector and places us top in Scotland for the quality of our research.”

REF found that the overall quality of research at St Andrews had increased by 5.7 % since the last assessment exercise in 2014.

St Andrews Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sally Mapstone FRSE said: “The overall quality of our research has increased significantly since the last REF in 2014, we have cause to celebrate the achievements of several of our Schools whose research is rated amongst the best in the UK, and the fact that over 88% of the research we produce in this small corner of Fife has been held to be world-leading or internationally excellent is a remarkable achievement.”

Although REF itself explicitly does not rank universities according to research strengths, the metrics it produces are widely used in the higher education sector and in the media to benchmark research performance.

According to these figures, using the method of Grade Point Average (GPA), St Andrews was ranked 3rd in Scotland and 28th in the UK, one of six Scottish universities ranked amongst the top 50 research institutions in the UK.

Research at the School of Modern Languages which REF judged to be world-leading included:

  • Improving our Understanding of Positive Change in Post-Genocide Rwanda
  • Transnational Scotland: Changing Practice and Raising Awareness of Imperial Legacies in Scottish Museums
  • Changing the Public Perception of Six-times Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna, 1794-1876
  • Building Creative Engagement with Industrial Heritage in the UK and Ukraine

Full details of the Research Excellence Framework 2021

University of St Andrews REF 2021 results