The Research Excellence Framework (REF) results, which evaluate the quality of research at all UK Universities, were published on 18th December 2014. In Scotland the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) created research pools to develop Scottish capacities in particular research areas and The Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) is the research pool in Informatics and Computer Science. The REF results in Informatics and Computer Science demonstrate the effectiveness of the SFC research pools strategy in a highly competitive research area that is critical to Scotland’s economic development.
Across SICSA we saw the volume of 4* (World Leading) and 3* (Internationally Excellent) research rise since the previous similar exercise in 2008. In terms of research power, the University of Edinburgh remains number one in the UK with the University of Glasgow joining them in the top 10, whilst the vast majority of Scottish Institutions also increased their research power. In addition, almost all SICSA members maintained or improved their Grade Point Average, some by a significant margin, indicating the excellent quality of research submitted by SICSA members.
Professor Stuart Anderson, SICSA Director, commented: “Cooperation between Scottish Universities to build critical mass and visibility is at the heart of the Scottish Funding Council vision for Research Pools. This result demonstrates how the Pools empower us to build internationally excellent research in this critical area for the Scottish Economy.”
The Scottish Funding Council is currently concluding negotiations on continuation funding for SICSA in order to enable the pool to continue to work to support and develop the competitiveness of Informatics and Computer Science research in Scotland in the years running up to the next REF in 2020.