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Philosophy Research Excellence

12 May 2022

59.1% of the University of St Andrews Department of Philosophy’s research outputs (items of published research) are in the highest category of ‘world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour’, according to the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) published today (Thursday 12 May 2022). This was the highest percentage for any UK philosophy department.

The REF – a detailed analysis of the research strengths of all UK universities – found that overall, after factoring in measures of impact on the non-academic world, and the research environment, 82% of research carried out by the Department is classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

With regard to the wider university, 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.