REF Results announced:
Research Excellence - collaboration
Two-thirds of CAS academics contributed to a joint Anthropology and Development Studies submission, which was ranked 4th in the UK by quantity of world-leading research. The other one third contributed to the Sociology submission (along with Science, Technology and Innovation Studies) which was ranked 1st by quantity of world-leading research.
Impact - ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’
We also made major contributions around impact, contributing three impact case studies to the two submissions (as well as a fourth submission to History). All of our research was deemed to have had ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ impact outside of academia, in terms of its research and significance.
Significance – growth, community and transition
Two further issues are worth mentioning. Our excellence in research and research impact has taken place alongside very significant growth. We adopted an inclusive approach to REF, and this meant that the FTE size of our submission increased 300% on our 2008 submission. We submitted a great many relatively early career staff, the vast majority as lecturer or research fellow. It is also important to acknowledge the role of our PhD students in our success. Firstly, many of our early career staff are recent PhD graduates, and secondly, our thriving PhD community made a major contribution to the quality of our research environment, all of of which was assessed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘excellent’.
Since our 2008 submission we have diversified our teaching and research. Our traditional strength in African Studies is evident, submitted primarily with Sociology, but we have also made a major contribution to the Development Studies component of the Anthropology and Development Studies submission. Indeed, by quantity of world-leading research the Development Studies component is ranked 2nd in the UK, behind only Oxford. This is a major achievement given there was little or no activity in this area even five years ago.
All the above is exceptional for a rapidly growing cohort of academics many of whom are at an early stage in their careers. We have built this success on hard work and mutual support, and crucially by developing and maintaining strong collaborations with Social Anthropology and Sociology at Edinburgh. We are, we believe, truly greater than the sum of our parts, and this bodes well for our future as one of Europe’s leading Centres of African Studies.