Missions accomplished? Research successes compared

Members of the Million+ group of universities awarded more PhDs relative to their quality-related research income than any other mission group in 2010-11, performance indicators published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show.

July 19, 2012

The indicators, published on 5 July, are intended to show institutions' research output relative to inputs, and are adjusted for differences in subject coverage within each university.

An indicator value of 1 indicates that an institution is producing the same, relative to inputs, as the sector average. A value below 1 shows that it is producing less than the average and greater than 1 that it is producing more.

An analysis by Times Higher Education of data by mission group (see related file, right) shows that, on average, Million+ and University Alliance universities produce more doctorates and bring in more research grants and contracts in relation to QR income than research-intensive universities.

The indicators also suggest that relative to the amount institutions spend on academic staff, on average 1994 Group universities attract more research grants and contracts than their Russell Group peers.

According to Hesa, the number of PhDs awarded and income from research grants and contracts are measures of institutional vitality and success, but it stresses that the indicators are not a reliable measure of research quality.

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