Political Studies Making Big Strides In Research Excellence And Impact
REF results show an increase in the overall GPA for Politics and International Studies with more than 68% of politics research categorised as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
Political Studies in the United Kingdom’s universities is flourishing and delivering societal impact. The latest evidence comes from the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The marks for Politics and International Studies have increased considerably since the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The overall GPA (grade point average) for Politics and International Studies in 2014 is 2.90, rising from 2.34 in 2008. Politics and International Studies perform especially strong in the category of Impact – where the ‘reach’ and ‘significance’ of research is assessed. With a score of 3.22, the subject is well ahead of the vast majority of other disciplines within and beyond the social sciences.
This shows that in relation to both research and impact the discipline of political studies has made big strides. Professor Matthew Flinders, Chair of the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom, said:
"The outcome of the 2014 REF is a great result for Political Studies. All areas of the discipline have approached the changing context - within both higher education and the political world itself - with creativity and vision to demonstrate exactly why the study of politics matters.
"This is reflected in a varied portfolio of impact case studies that clearly demonstrate both academic excellence and positive social impacts. Political Studies is also a leading discipline within an increasingly vibrant social science community in the UK while also enjoying a truly global reputation for setting the intellectual agenda."
This ability to deliver research that has a real-world impact and relevance was demonstrated recently when the BBC’s Nick Robinson thanked the political studies community in the UK and acknowledged his own professional debt to the scholars who provided him with state-of-the-art research that he could then use in his own reports.
At the 2014 PSA Annual Awards Dinner in November, Nick Robinson said:
“On behalf of all of the political journalists who are paid to communicate, thank you so much for allowing us to make your wisdom, our wisdom. We are enormously grateful to the members of the Political Studies Association”.
The high quality of politics research is clear from the REF results: more than 68% of politics research has been classified as either 'World-leading or ‘Internationally Excellent'. Student demand for Politics and International Studies degrees remains very high with applications on the rise and excellent results in terms of both academic performance and progression into either employment or post-graduate education. Professor Flinders said:
"What has been clear in recent years is that Political Studies has been able to respond to increasing demands in terms of teaching excellence, employability skills and maintaining a real sense of academic community while also delivering research and publications of the very highest standard."