Research ratings of British chemical engineering departments compiled by academics in the United States show that Imperial College, London, has maintained a stranglehold on the top position for the last three decades.
The ratings have been drawn up by Jude Sommerfeld and Matthew Realff of the school of chemical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Over the most recent five-year period analysed, 1989-93, Imperial's excellence in the field was ranked ahead of the universities of Cambridge, Birmingham, Aston, Manchester and University College London.
The findings are based on an analysis of research publications from each of 25 British chemical engineering schools. The figures come from science citation indices compiled regularly by the Institute for Scientific Information in Philadelphia. The analysis is grouped in five, five-year periods stretching back to 1965 since when, the study says, British universities have increased their annual total output of chemical engineering research publications by 80 per cent.
Over the period 1989-93, chemical engineers at Imperial College boasted 311 research publications while Cambridge produced 150, Birmingham, 135; Aston, 118; Manchester, 109 and UCL, 92.
While the data shows Imperial to be the leading chemical engineering school since 1965, other universities that have appeared in the top six over the past 30 years include Newcastle, Salford, Sheffield, Bradford and Loughborough.
The compilation of a "league table" of chemical engineering departments in Britain follows a similar exercise carried out in the late 1980s by the authors on more than 100 American chemical engineering schools.