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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

School of Ocean and Earth Science - world-leader in research excellence

Published: 12 May 2022

The School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES) at the University of Southampton has reaffirmed its position as a world-leader in research excellence today following publication of the national Research Excellence Framework 2021 – the largest and most comprehensive assessment of research in the world.

Our research was assessed within the Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences Unit of Assessment, and highlights include:

  • 98% of our overall research being regarded as world-leading or internationally excellent, of which over 60% was judged as world-leading. 
  • Ranked within the top 5 earth and environmental science schools nationally in terms of grade point average (GPA, a measure of the overall quality of research).
  • Recognition of our excellent world-leading working environment (Environment GPA = 3.75 out of 4, within the upper quartile of the sector).
  • 96% of our research outputs were rated as world-leading or internationally excellent, with the majority of those (63%) judged as world-leading.
  • All our impact case studies were judged as either world-leading or internationally excellent, demonstrating that our researchers are able to transform their research into answers to real world problems: from engaging the public and policy makers with stewardship of biodiversity in the deep ocean; to characterising radionuclides supporting nuclear decommissioning.

Professor Mark Moore, Head of School said: “We are really pleased with today’s result which reflects the hard work of all staff in the School over the last 7 years, as well as the strengths of our partners and wider collaborative network.  It is great to see SOES recognised as a place to do world-leading research and this result provides us with a strong foundation on which to grow the School as we undertake a period of substantial recruitment in the coming years.”

Professor Rachael James, Deputy Head of School Research and Enterprise, added: “The vast majority of our research is internationally excellent and nearly 75% of our research outputs have overseas co-authors. The School plays a leading role in a number of global research efforts like the International Ocean Discovery Program. This REF period also saw us make real progress in other areas that are at the heart of our University Strategy, including continuing to develop a diverse, well-supported and collegiate research community.”

The School of Ocean and Earth Science has a reputation for research-led teaching and runs undergraduate degree programmes in environmental geoscience, geology, oceanography and marine biology.

For the University of Southampton as a whole the results of the REF show that 92% per cent of Southampton’s research activity is considered of internationally excellent or world-leading quality, placing the University once again amidst the top 20 leading research institutions in the country.

For further information about REF2021 and to explore the results yourself, please visit the REF2021 website

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