Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities

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DASS staff achieved major success in the results announced for the Research Assessment Exercise 2008. The RAE – an assessment exercise that acts as a barometer of research quality in the UK - is used to apportion government funding for research work undertaken in Higher Education. Faculty staff contributed to two different areas of research that were submitted for assessment – Social Work, Social Policy and Administration; and Communications, Cultural and Media Studies. For each submission, numerous examples of staff research and a full report on their research activities was presented for evaluation by panels of internationally distinguished experts. These panels judged the quality of the research according to four ‘starred’ ratings. Eighty percent of the research submitted for assessment was deemed to be either ‘world leading’, ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘internationally recognised’.

The RAE submission for Social Work, Social Policy and Administration was coordinatedby Professor Norman Ginsburg. The work of 23 staff – all from DASS – was submitted for assessment. DASS research in the fields of social work and social policy consolidated its previously established excellence in child and woman abuse and in health and social care. The faculty also developed two new hubs of research endeavour: social work; and crime, community safety and policing. The aim is to build applied social research, which contributes to development policies and practices appropriate to the needs of relatively marginalised social groups. Particular concerns are issues surrounding social and ethnic diversity, and social exclusion, with DASS staff giving special commitment to research that gives voice to users and user communities.

Across the whole RAE, the assessment panel rated the submission for Social Work and Social Policy and Administration as the best among all ‘new’ universities submitting twenty or more staff. Moreover, during the assessment period staff in the area generated an average of over £400,000 per year in external research income. Overall, the RAE results for this subject area are a clear indication of the international excellence and global impact of research produced by DASS staff.

The RAE submission for Communications, Cultural and Media Studies was coordinated by Professor Bill Osgerby, Dr. Paul Cobley, and by Dr. Wendy Wheeler from another University Faculty, HALE.  A total of 13 staff were submitted for assessment, and the area now boasts a group of researchers whose expertise is wide-ranging and world-leading. Research is currently grouped around four key areas – communications and subjectivity, film and television, American popular culture, and community media. Each area has produced not only outstanding research publications and projects, but has also organised and participated in numerous international conferences, has progressed the work of several early career researchers, and has recruited high calibre postgraduate research students.

Overall, a substantial submission was made for research in the field of Communications, Cultural and Media Studies. This included ‘world-leading’ work in the fields of practice research, cultural studies and political communication, and an array of additional research that was judged by the panel to be of ‘international excellence’.

Find out more on the 2008 RAE: www.rae.ac.uk