The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is the UK’s official survey of research quality in universities and higher education institutions.
The results of RAE 2008 cannot be compared with those of the previous RAE, published in 2001, because the methods of classifying research are different. For example, the highest grade in 2001 was 5*.
RAE 2008 was conducted by the four UK higher education funding bodies, with the primary purpose of using the results to determine their research grant allocations to the institutions they fund, with effect from 2009-10.
The RAE 2008 results are therefore very important to higher education institutions, especially those that are research-intensive, such as Newcastle University.
In addition, the prestige of a good set of RAE results helps the University attract and retain high quality staff and students, especially postgraduates, and can help to generate investment in research from other sources.
The RAE results also underpin the University’s research reputation in the UK and abroad, as expressed in its Mission Statement, ‘To be a world-class research intensive university …’
RAE 2008 was the first such survey since 2001 and ranked research quality in the following categories:
4* Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
3* Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which nonetheless falls short of the highest standards of excellence.
2* Quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
1* Quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
u/c Quality that falls below the standard of nationally recognised work.