The Royal Veterinary College has maintained its position as the leading higher education-funded, veterinary-focused research institution in the country.

The results of the REF 2014 (Research Excellence Framework) published yesterday (December 18) showed the proportion of the college’s research rated as internationally world leading (4*) or excellent (3*) increased to 79% from 55% six years ago.

RVC vice-principal (Research and Innovation) Jonathan Elliott said the college, part of the University of London, was delighted with the progress of its research.

“The high quality profile we have achieved shows our recruitment and development strategies have been very effective, with 82% of our REF eligible staff being included in our return,” Prof Elliott said.

“Fifty-seven of the 112 academics (51%) in our return hold a veterinary qualification ensuring veterinary knowledge and skills are informing our research and our veterinary students have excellent role models to inspire them to consider research as a career.”

The college sustained its position as third for its Unit of Assessment in the power weighting (out of 29 institutions). It is this weighting (quality multiplied by volume) that determines future research funding.

For the first time, the REF judged the long-term impact of research alongside academic excellence. More than 63% of RVC’s impact return was scored as 4*, which suggested five of the 11 case studies submitted were gauged to have “outstanding reach and significance” more than any other vet school funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The impact case studies submitted by the RVC covered the broad range of research conducted and demonstrated impacts spanning commercial and economic value; health and welfare advances with both veterinary and medical applications; social impact through public engagement; and developments in government policies and professional clinical practices of both national and international significance.

All the studies are available to view at

RVC principal Stuart Reid said the college stated in its submission it was a small, specialist institution with a critical mass of high-quality, forward-thinking scientists working in some of the most significant areas of the veterinary discipline.

“By focusing on these strengths – coupled with our enthusiasm to work collaboratively with researchers locally, nationally and internationally – we have put our research mission in a strong and sustainable position. Our results clearly bear this out.”

Prof Reid was today reappointed principal for a second five-year term to 2020. In making the announcement, the chairman of RVC Council, Lord Curry of Kirkharle, said the RVC had had a remarkable four years since Prof Reid’s appointment and had developed enormously, growing in reputation and stature.

“I am sure news of his reappointment will signal to the sector our great confidence in the college’s future,” he said.

Prof Reid said leading the college was a great honour. “We have had a terrific few years at the RVC and I pay tribute to everybody who has made our time together so successful,” he said. “I’m just the one who is lucky enough to be captain of the team.

“The next few years will see increasing challenges, but I know that with the support of our council, friends and stakeholders, the staff and students of the RVC will continue to deliver science, education and clinical care of the highest standard. I am delighted to be part of the college’s future.”

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