World-leading research results show importance of UHI community connection

Nearly three quarters of UHI research has been classified as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in a new expert review undertaken to assess the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

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Research by UHI at Ness of Brodgar excavation has encouraged more community engagement with heritage and archaeology. Credit: Jo Bourne

Research in health and nursing, earth systems and environmental and marine sciences, archaeology, education, area studies, Gaelic and history were all recognised by the Research Excellence Framework published today (Thursday 12 May)

This latest assessment looked at a range of aspects of the work of 147 researchers across the UHI partnership. It examined the impact of their research, demonstrating how targeted research at UHI can support sustainable and inclusive economic prosperity in our communities, as well as addressing some of Scotland’s biggest challenges.

UHI principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Todd Walker said: “This is a great result for UHI and recognises we can more than hold our own in a very competitive research environment. We have achieved and exceeded our expectations, building on our success in 2014. Our staff, students and communities should be very proud of UHI which is delivering a high standard of research locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

“UHI has a unique place and deep roots in our communities. Our research is more connected to their needs and that helps us excel in areas which are important to them, including their future development. We use our local expertise to collaborate and engage with researchers and projects across the world – that’s quite some achievement for such a young institution.”

The Research Excellence Framework provides accountability for public investment in research, demonstrating its benefits and impact. Results are also used to inform future allocation of research funding.

“UHI has now firmly established our presence in the Scottish standings,” added Professor Donna Heddle, UHI acting vice-principal (research). “This result continues to show strong evidence of developing research capacity across a broad range of areas. It demonstrates exactly how UHI should, and continues to, underpin economic activity in our region. We are making a real difference to our environment, to the business community and to people’s lives – not just in our communities, but across the world.”