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Geography endorsed by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework

Posted on 18/12/2014

The Department of Geography has been endorsed by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), a process of expert review to assess the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. 80 per cent of the Department’s research has been awarded 4-3* for its impact, where 4* represents world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.  

36 staff were submitted from the Department, 10 of whom were early career researchers. 76 per cent of the research submitted to REF 2014 for review has been awarded 4-3*, where 4* represents world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.  

A new element of the REF was the requirement for higher education institutions to demonstrate the impact their research was having beyond academia on the economy, society, culture, public policy, services, health or the environment. 

Professor Nicholas Clifford, Head of Department, said: ‘The REF result is a demonstration of the strength and breadth of the Department’s research and impact, which unite science, society and environment. Whether in world-leading satellite sensing technology, regulatory review, or behaviour-changing concepts such as Virtual Water, King’s Geography represents the best of multi-disciplinary expertise, brought to bear on key challenges for this, and the next, generation.’

The Department of Geography at King’s is a world leader producing critical, policy-relevant research that can challenge as well as support practice and policy. It works across scales from the local to the global and across disciplinary boundaries in the broad fields of environment, society and politics and development. 

One submitted impact case study related the pioneering work of a team led by Professor Martin Wooster who is helping to keep track of worldwide wildfires in real time. His research assists agencies such as the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts and the Met Office to monitor, model and forecast the effects of wildfires on the atmosphere - including changes in the quality of air we breathe. 

Over the last decade, research by the King’s Centre for Risk Management (KCRM) in the Department has helped successive UK governments reform regulation by making regulatory inspection and enforcement more ‘risk-based’. Risk-based approaches promise to make regulation more efficient by targeting regulatory activities only at cases that pose unacceptable risks rather than by trying to prevent all possible harms. 

Further information on King’sCollege London REF results can be found here.

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