An independent quality review of research at UCC has concluded that almost ten per cent (10%) of the university’s research is “world-leading” while forty per cent (40%) is “excellent” or better.
Welcoming the report, the
Minister O’Keeffe said the focus of research in Irish higher education institutions must be on turning ideas into commercialised products and services: “That is the challenge of the Innovation Taskforce Report which is rooted in the promise of human capital and our capacity to forge new, higher value jobs for tomorrow's workers. This exercise by UCC is about maintaining quality in our research activities and it underlines the importance of independent scrutiny, robust oversight and visible transparency.”
The review proper began last year when some fifteen (15) expert Peer Review Panels were formed. Panel members were drawn from institutions in Europe, Asia and the
Four of the panels assessed the research achievements in UCC’s dedicated research institutes, such as the Tyndall National Institute, the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC), Analytical & Biological Chemistry Research Facility, Environmental Research Institute (ERI) and the Boole Centre for Research in Informatics. Academic units engaged in research were also assessed. In the case of the research institutes, the panels assessed more than 3,400 journal papers, books, conference presentations, patents etc., arising from the research activity of some 300 academic and research staff over the previous five years. The results were:
- 18% of the research output was considered to be outstanding
- 36% was regarded as “excellent” in terms of originality, significance and rigour
- 22% of Academic Unit research output was considered to be of a very good standard and likely to have a significant impact on research and/or policy agendas.
Under the heading ‘Research Esteem’, 43% of UCC research staff were assessed as having “outstanding reputations” while a further 23% were judged to have had excellent impact or recognition. Overall, the university’s research institutes were designated “outstanding” or “excellent” by the panels.
The 15 panels were involved in the assessment of some 1,100 academic and research staff in 61 Academic Units. During the review, some 13,500 journal papers, books, conference papers and patents, etc., produced over the previous five years, were evaluated and the following results reported
- 9% of research output was of world-leading standard
- 27% was regarded as “excellent” in terms of originality, significance and rigour
Some 10% of researchers in this area were considered to have had “outstanding” impact and recognition, while a further 26% had “excellent” impact and recognition.
So as to emphasise the independence of the review process, none of the reviewers was appointed from within UCC or an Irish higher education institution.
The independent reviewers’ overall assessment was that UCC continues to be highly successful in its research activities. However, the 280-page report also contains many useful suggestions as to where synergies could be improved between research functions, suggestions on staff motivation and retention as well as a commentary on areas in which research output could be improved.
Picture: Dr Michael Murphy, President, UCC presenting a copy of the Research Quality Review Report to Mr Batt O'Keeffe TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Innovation.