Research and analysis

Research excellence in UK universities

Explores the factors contributing to research excellence in universities apart from levels of funding.


Growing the best and brightest: the drivers of research excellence

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This report aims to understand what UK universities do to improve research excellence, excluding funding levels. It includes a literature review and a survey of 51 academics in 12 leading UK universities. It identifies 6 important factors contributing to research excellence:

  • recruitment practices
  • mentoring and appraisal
  • collaboration
  • research strategies
  • securing a mix of funding
  • competition

The report finds that the UK’s successful research performance relies on a number of subtle factors besides funding levels. As such, increasing R&D expenditure in other countries is not enough in itself to replicate the UK’s research success.

Published 3 April 2014