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REF 2014 Results: SSPS excels in national research assessment

All SPS research areas rated amongst the top eight in the UK.

All of the School of Social and Political Science's research areas have been rated amongst the top eight in the UK and number one in Scotland, for their breadth and quality of research.

The majority of research undertaken at Edinburgh University’s School of Social and Political Science (SSPS) has been assessed as either 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014) survey of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) across the UK.

This comprehensive assessment of social and political science research at the University of Edinburgh has reported that 36% of the School’s research has been rated as '4* – research that is world leading (in terms originality, significance and rigour)'. A further 41% of SSPS research has been assessed as '3* – internationally excellent'.  The proportion of the School’s research that is world leading has increased substantially since the last national research assessment exercise was undertaken in 2008.

Contributing to these highly impressive, overall REF2014 results were two important dimensions:

  • The research environment - the way SSPS fosters research and nurtures staff - the entirety of which was judged as being conducive of producing research that is - at least - 'of internationally excellent quality', with the majority being rated as encouraging research of a quality that is “world-leading”; and
  • The School’s research impact - its wider reach and significance throughout society and the economy - the majority of which was assessed as being 'outstanding'.

Commenting on the outcomes of the REF 2014 assessment, Head of the School of Social and Political Science, Professor Fiona Mackay, said:

I am absolutely delighted, yet not surprised, that the School has achieved such an outstanding assessment in the Research Excellence Framework.  The overall scores we have obtained reflect the extremely high quality of research undertaken in SSPS, which is unique in the range of social science disciplines it encompasses.

Not only has the majority of our research itself been recognised as being either world leading or internationally excellent, but REF 2014 has also identified it as delivering significant beneficial impacts to our wider society and economy, not only here in Scotland, but throughout the UK and internationally.

The key to our outstanding success in REF2014 is inclusivity. We put forward for assessment almost all of our academic staff - from Professors to early career researchers."

Further information on the SSPS's results from REF 2014  is available at:


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