Today NERC published the findings of an independent, expert review of the research excellence, impact and organisational context of its Research Centres from 2007 through to 2012.
The evaluation of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) involved all of our 124 eligible scientists at Band 5 and above, and was delivered within just 8 months. Fifty-nine percent of our 482 evaluated scientific outputs were judged to be the equivalent of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ standards. Similarly, CEH’s statements of research impact were highly regarded. Specifically, 78% of the impact case studies were either “outstanding” or assessed as “very considerable”, in terms of reach and significance, delivering broad societal impact contributing to national infrastructure, including water and energy. The evaluation demonstrates that NERC has good reason to be proud of the research excellence of its Centres and the environment they provide for delivering national capability, fundamental research and impact of the highest international quality.
This is the first time that NERC Centres have been through this process which followed the ongoing REF methodology for Higher Education Institutions. Included in the NERC statement is a description of the methodology followed for the Research Centre Evaluation Exercise, the membership of the Evaluation Panels, a list of the individual scientists and their outputs, the overall scores for research excellence and copies of CEH’s impact case studies.
CEH Director, Professor Mark Bailey, said: “I am extremely pleased with the findings for CEH which confirms, to our collaborators, funders and partners across the public, private and voluntary sectors, the international excellence of our research, its impact and the vitality of our organisation. Specifically, CEH’s monitoring is world-class, and our efforts to make data more usable by others are critical in supporting the work we do and for meeting the needs of the wider community. Indeed, I see CEH’s extensive collaborative network as essential to the organisation’s future. Together we will continue to advance CEH science excellence and national capability as innovative leaders in terrestrial and freshwater sciences, and an organisation that delivers world-class research with impact.
“We have already begun this process in the development of CEH’s forthcoming Science Strategy 2013-2018. New Science Areas have been established that build on our core Long-term Monitoring & Observing Systems, to address major societal and environmental challenges catalysed by environmental informatics, knowledge exchange and innovation. CEH’s new Strategy will make our science and researchers more accessible. It reflects a more systematic approach to stakeholder engagement to define, develop and deliver our research in partnership, to maximise the impacts of our outputs and to train the next generation of environmental scientists.”