This page forms part of the RCN Research Society historical initiatives, and is preserved as a historical record for reference purposes only. Some information contained within it may no longer be accurate or up-to-date.

Research assessment exercise 2008


The RAE 2008 was completed in 2008. The new mode of assessment is the Research Excellence Framework 2014]

The main purpose of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) is to enable the higher education funding bodies to distribute public funds for research selectively on the basis of quality. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) conducting the best research receive a larger proportion of the available grant so that the infrastructure for the top level of research in the UK is protected and developed. The RAE assesses the quality of research in universities and colleges in the UK. It takes place every four to five years. The results of the RAE 2008 were published on 18 December 2008.

Website: http://www.rae.ac.uk/

Nursing submissions to RAE

The RAE team invited HEIs to provide information about their research activity in the form of a separate submission to each of 67 subjects or units of assessment (UOAs). UOA 11 is designated "nursing and midwifery", although it's important to remember that some HEI nursing departments were submitted under difference UOAs (eg. UOA 7, "Health Services Research")

  • 1996: 36 institutions submitted 396.5 WTE staff
  • 2001: 43 institutions submitted 578.4 WTE staff
  • 2008: 36 institutions submitted 641.7 WTE staff

Tables of results and submissions

The tables of results and submissions can be found on the RAE website
Website: http://www.rae.ac.uk/

Further, more detailed analysis, can be found on the Times Higher website (based on Grade Point Average (GPA), or via the Research Fortnight RAE 2008 analysis UoA11 (PDF, 354) (based on both a Quality and a Power Ranking)

Feedback about RAE 2008

Most assessment of how nursing fared in the RAE 2008 was positive, noting that UoA11 had risen from bottom of the table in 2001 to mid-table in 2008. Some of the official comments are highlighted below.

  1. RCN press release, "Extra investment in nursing research can reap even more excellence" (PDF, 20K)
  2. Council of Deans press release, "Nursing and midwifery research comes of age" (PDF, 94K)
  3. Subject overview report from RAE 2008 Main Panel C and sub-panel C11 (PDF, 72K)

Historical documents

In 2007, Professor Martin Johnson and Professor Hugh McKenna, at the request of the RCN Research Society, produced a guide to the RAE 2008 to help potential institutions avoid obvious pitfalls in their submissions.

Website: Ten myths about the RAE 2008

Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and the nursing profession - selected bibliography

  1. Snow, T. (2008), "Is nursing research catching up with other disciplines?", Nursing Standard. 2008 16 Jan.  22(19).  pp. 12-3.
  2. Cecil, R., Thompson, K. & Parahoo, K. (2006), "The research assessment exercise in nursing: learning from the past, looking to the future", Journal of Clinical Nursing, 15(4):395-402
  3. Fyffe, T;  Waterton, J. (2005), "Moving the agenda forward: nursing and midwifery research in Scotland." Nursing Management UK. 2005 Nov.  12(7).  pp. 17-8.
  4. Anthony, D. (2005), "The nursing research assessment exercise 2001: an analysis.", Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing. 2005 Mar/Jun.  9(1-2).  pp. 4-12.
  5. Lindsay, L;  Pfeil, M;  Bates, K. (2003), "The 'invisible' nursing RAE 2001: an analysis.", Nurse Researcher. 2003.  11(2).
  6. Crouch, D. (2002), "Meeting of minds.", Nursing Times. 2002 15 Oct.  98(42).  pp. 22-5.
  7. Richards, D;  Watson, R. (2002), "Do RAEs accurately measure the quality of nursing research?", Nursing Times. 2002 15 Oct.  98(42).  pp. 17.
  8. Lipley, N. (2002), "Could do better.", Nursing Standard. 2002 3 Jan.  16(16).  pp. 14.
  9. Traynor, M. & Rafferty, AM (1999), "Nursing and the Research Assessment Exercise: past, present and future", Journal of Advanced Nursing, Volume 30 Issue 1, Pages 186 - 192

For RCN members, items in bold are available in full text from the library e-resources collection at http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/library/elibrary