May 15, 2024 | Knowledge Bank

UK Universities at the Forefront of World-Leading Research

One of the most important parts of education is academic research and how it produces knowledge that improves people’s lives and the advancement of society. Academic research possesses the power that allows us to discover new things and solve problems that arise in our community. Climate change, sustainable development, human rights, global pandemics and risks of artificial intelligence are a few of the many issues that the development of academic research can help. 

Academic research also generally becomes the factor that encourages new theories and innovations to emerge. Hence, the quality of research can empower us to solve real-world issues based on facts and evidence.

The UK has a long history of being widely acclaimed as a centre of cutting-edge research and academic achievement. Universities in the UK consistently ranked among the world's top due to their rich history of combining important historical research with innovative modern studies.

The UK is one of the biggest contributors to scientific research with around 200,000 citable publications. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 shared that around 84% of UK Universities’ activity, including research, is found to be world-leading or internationally excellent. These facts are proof that the UK has a very active role in academic research.

Here are a few facts about UK Universities and its World-Leading Research:

  • High-quality and impactful research

Academic research requires a great level of quality to be impactful. Without high-quality research, it would be difficult for a society to advance its knowledge or to understand complex issues that exist around them.

The UK, being home to some of the top universities in the world, also puts a lot of importance on high-quality academic research. It is reported in REF 2021 that more than 80% of research from each region in the UK was rated 3-star or internationally excellent. 

With a supportive environment towards high-quality research, it is known that until 2015, around 38% of Nobel Laureates or Nobel Prize winners who went to study abroad had chosen the UK as their destination! That number is higher than any other country in the world. Some of the well-known UK university alumni awarded the Nobel Prize are Desmond Tutu, Michael Levitt, Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen. How amazing!

  • Huge investment in research and development

One of the factors behind the quality of research from the UK is the generous stream of investment from its government. In 2022, Research England announced that following the outstanding results from REF 2021, quality-related research funding has been increased by 10.4% from £1,789 million to £1,974 million. This funding is aimed at improving universities’ research capability and infrastructure.

With great investment, comes great benefits for the UK. Giving the universities much-needed funding for academic research allows these universities to produce cutting-edge research. A supportive academic environment combined with state-of-the-art facilities is the formula for high-quality research that could be the backbone for innovations to emerge.

This makes the UK one of the most sought-after countries for higher education. If you are looking for a place to maximise your research and analytics skills, the UK is the perfect place for you!

  • Centre of research-led businesses

The UK is ranked 4 for the most innovative countries in the world according to the Global Innovation Index 2021. The high ranking was earned due to the active role of universities in research. 

UK Universities play an active role in nurturing the development of academic research. Academic research led by students can often lead to the rise of spin-outs –companies created by university enterprises to create innovations based on academic research. There are around 1,166 active spin-outs in the UK, which marks the high growth of businesses from academic institutions.

Research-led businesses created by UK universities also became an opportunity that helps with the rate of employment. In 2021-2022 alone, spin-outs have successfully employed around 96,000 people across the UK. This further highlights the importance of academic research because not only does it benefit our society with a new set of knowledge and innovations, but it also becomes an answer to social challenges or issues.

  • Notable research outcomes by our UK University Partners

One of the most notable breakthroughs from the UK is the rotavirus vaccine by the University of Liverpool. The vaccine was first introduced in 2012 and has resulted in immunisation coverage of around 90% in 2013. By 2016, the rotavirus vaccine has been introduced in 38 out of 54 African countries. 

The Exeter Hip, a revolutionary hip implant design by the University of Exeter, was first introduced in 1970 and has helped more than 2 million patients globally since its invention. This innovation also made it into the Top 100 University Breakthroughs by Universities UK in 2018. 

Another notable breakthrough is the Pee Power Technology by the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol. The system was developed at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and can turn organic matter, such as urine, into electricity to power lighting and charging mobile phones. Furthermore, the system also sanitises the urine and turns it into plant fertiliser. 

Our University Partners are active not only in offering quality education but also in producing notable innovations that are proven to help improve the lives of many people, both locally and globally. 

For more information about our university partners, contact us through our social media! We are more than ready to assist your further studies and career journey.